Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children World Health Organisation Collaborative Cross-National Survey (HBSC): International Coordinating Centre

Since 1982 the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey has been a pioneer cross-national study gaining insight into young people's well-being, health behaviours and their social context. This research collaboration with the WHO Regional Office for Europe is conducted every four years in over 50 countries and regions across Europe and North America. With children and young people accounting for 42% of our world's population, HBSC uses its findings to inform policy and practice to improve the lives of millions of young people.

Behaviours established during adolescence can continue into adulthood, affecting issues such as mental health, body image, diet, physical activity and substance use. HBSC focuses on understanding young people's health in their social context – where they live, at school, with family and friends. Researchers in the HBSC network are interested in understanding how these factors, individually and together, influence young people's health as they move from childhood into young adulthood.

Data are collected through school-based surveys, using an international standard questionnaire. The target population of the study is young people attending school, aged 11, 13 and 15 years. In each participating country a sample of around 5000 young people complete the survey. The international standard questionnaire produced for every survey cycle enables the collection of common data across all participating countries and thus enables the quantification of patterns of key health behaviours, health indicators and contextual variables. These data allow cross-national comparisons to be made and, with successive surveys, trend data is gathered and may be examined at both the national and cross-national level. The international network is organized around an interlinked series of focus and topic groups related to areas including: eating and dieting, overweight and obesity, physical activity and sedentary behaviour, mental health, sexual health, substance use, violence and injuries, family and peer relationships, electronic media use, the school environment, health literacy, planetary health and social inequalities.

The University of Glasgow hosts the International Coordinating Centre (ICC) for the HBSC study and research network. Dr Jo Inchley is the Principal Investigator for the Scottish HBSC study as well as the elected International Coordinator of the study.

Visit the HBSC International site.



Boer, M., van den Eijnden, R. J.J.M., Finkenauer, C., Boniel-Nissim, M., Marino, C., Inchley, J. , Cosma, A., Paakkari, L. and Stevens, G. W.J.M. (2021) Cross-national validation of the Social Media Disorder Scale: findings from adolescents from 44 countries. Addiction, (doi: 10.1111/add.15709) (PMID:34605094) (Accepted for Publication)

Paakkari, L., Jourdan, D., Inchley, J. and Torppa, M. (2021) The impact of school closure on adolescents’ wellbeing, and steps toward to a new normal: the need for an assessment tool update? Adolescents, 1(3), pp. 360-362. (doi: 10.3390/adolescents1030027)

Leal-López, E., Sánchez-Queija, I., Vieno, A., Currie, D., Torsheim, T., Pavlova, D., Moreno-Maldonado, C., De Clercq, B., Kalman, M. and Inchley, J. (2021) Cross-national time trends in adolescent alcohol use from 2002 to 2014. European Journal of Public Health, (doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckab024) (PMID:34259859) (Early Online Publication)

Haug, E., Smith, O. R. F., Bucksch, J., Brindley, C., Pavelka, J., Hamrik, Z., Inchley, J. , Roberts, C., Mathisen, F. K. S. and Sigmundová, D. (2021) 12-year trends in active school transport across four European countries - findings from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(4), 2118. (doi: 10.3390/ijerph18042118) (PMID:33671596) (PMCID:PMC7926861)

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