World Health Organization Collaborative Cross-National Study

HBSC Ireland 2018 National Report cover

The 2018 HBSC Ireland Report was launched by Minister for Health Simon Harris TD and Minister for Health Promotion Catherine Byrne TD, on Thursday 9 January 2020. 

Download the full report here:
Költő, A., Gavin, A., Molcho, M., Kelly, C., Walker, L., & Nic Gabhainn, S. (2020). The Irish Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) Study 2018. Dublin: Department of Health & Galway: Health Promotion Research Centre, National University of Ireland, Galway. download‌ (5,699KB)

A total of 255 primary and post primary schools took part with 15,557 children completing questionnaires. 

We would like to extend a big thank you to all of the children, their schools and parents for taking part in the 2018 HBSC study. Without your participation and time the study would not have been such a success.

HBSC 2018 launch
A copy of the launch presentation by András Költő is also available to download (2001KB)

Download the press release ‌download (392KB)

Check our twitter page: @hbscireland 

Infographics (download to view full size)

HBSC 2018 Iconograph exercise & physical activity
Exercise and physical activity

HBSC 2018 Infograph fighting & bullying
Fighting and Bullying
HBSC 2018 Infograph food & dietary behaviour
Food and dietary behaviour
HBSC 2018 Infograph mental health
Mental health
HBSC 2018 infograph sexual health behaviours
Sexual health behaviours
HBSC 2018 infograph substance use
Substance use

Key findings

General health

Substance use

Food and dietary behaviour

Exercise and physical activity



Fighting and Bullying

Sexual Health Behaviours

Mental Health


Findings from HBSC Ireland 2018 will be distributed in reports, journal articles, factsheets and presentations to various interest groups. A full list of publications and articles etc. can be found on the publications page. 


New reports and factsheets containing the 2018 HBSC Ireland data will be availble here when published.

See the HBSC International website for more HBSC International publications.


The HBSC international report from the 2017/2018 survey is now available. The Spotlight on Adolescent Health and Well-being provides data from 45 countries in Europe and Canada. Findings are presented on the health and social behaviours of almost 228,000 young people aged 11, 13 and 15 years. 

The cross-national survey covers diverse aspects of adolescent health and social behaviour, including self-assessment of mental health; body image; dietary habits; physical activity; school context; relationships with families and peers; tobacco, alcohol and cannabis use; bullying and injuries; and sexual health (for those aged 15 and above only). A special focus on online communication was included in the most recent HBSC survey, to better understand the expanding role of digital technology in young people’s lives.

The study highlights the changing status of mental well-being among the Region’s youth. Reports of poor mental health – feeling low, nervous or irritable – are increasing across the Region. The data also clearly show that mental health declines with age. While technology can have positive benefits, it can also introduce new threats, such as cyberbullying, which disproportionately affects girls. Over 1 in 10 adolescents report having been cyberbullied at least once in the past two months.

As the latest HBSC study, featuring findings from 2017/2018, is released, the world is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic. The next study, which will feature findings from 2021/2022, will therefore reflect the impact of the pandemic on the lives of young people.

Further information can be found on the WHO/Europe website 

To access both Volume 1 Key Findings and Volume 2 Key Data of Spotlight on Adolescent Health and Well-Being, visit: 

HBSC special issue published in Journal of Adolescent Health

12 May 2020

We are delighted to announce that a special issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health has been published to accompany the launch of the International HBSC report. This includes ten scientific journal articles and three commentaries, which are the first international publications from the 2018 datasets. You can find the special issue at

In addition to the national and international reports HBSC Ireland 2014 data has been used in the following government and other health organisations reports: 

New report presents first data on sunburn, sun protection behaviours and sunbed use in under-18’s

17 June 2020

‌‌2020 Sun protection report IPH
HBSC Ireland data fetures in a new report published by the Institute of Public Health and NUI Galway’s Health Promotion Research Centre on sunburn, sun smart behaviours and sunbed use by children.

The report, Children’s exposure to ultraviolet radiation – risk profile for future skin cancers in Irelandpresents data on risk factors in Ireland for developing skin cancer in adult life

This report was developed to inform implementation of the National Skin Cancer Prevention Plan 2019-2022.

Data is presented principally from the 2018 Health Behaviours in School-Aged Children (HBSC) Survey, which reports health behaviours for those aged 10 to 17-years-old. The total sample size was 10,271.

Childhood sunburn, unprotected sun exposure and use of sunbeds increase the risk of developing skin cancers later in life. Repeated episodes of severe sunburn during childhood doubles the risk of developing melanoma – the most serious form of skin cancer – in later life. 

Some of the key findings of the report include:

  • Nearly 90% of 10 to 17-year olds said they have experienced sunburn in their lifetime. Around 74% said they experienced sunburn at least once during the past year.
  • Eight out of 10 schoolchildren reported wearing sunscreen, while seven out of 10 reported using sunglasses on sunny days.
  • The adoption of other sun protection measures, like covering up, wearing hats and avoiding peak UV hours, were less consistent.
  • 32% of schoolchildren reported that they avoided peak UV hours of the day.
  • Around 50% said they wore protective clothing to cover arms and legs when in the sun, while 17% reported never using sunscreen.
  • Girls were more likely to wear sunscreen, sunglasses, clothes that cover arms and legs as well as avoid peak UV hours. Boys were more likely to wear hats.
  • 3% of children said they used a sunbed in the last 12 months. The provision of sunbed services to children aged under 18 is contrary to Irish law as outlined in the Public Health (Sunbeds) Act 2014.
  • Six of the 10 warmest years in Ireland’s history have occurred during the childhoods of the current cohort of 18 to 20-year olds.
  • Climate research predicts hotter summers and more heatwaves. This may present elevating risk for UV skin damage, particularly in terms of childhood exposures during the summer school holidays.

See for more information, including a link to a recording of the launch webinar.

IPH Sunsmart infographic