World Health Organization
Collaborative Cross-National Study

The Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey is a WHO collaborative cross-national study that monitors the health behaviours, health outcomes and social environments of school-aged children every four years. HBSC Ireland surveys school-going children aged 9-18 years. The study is conducted by the HBSC Ireland team, based at the Health Promotion Research Centre, NUI Galway.

Latest News

All-island Alcohol Data Directory

June 2021

HBSC Ireland reports and the interactive data visualisations of data from the report Trends in Health Behaviours, Health Outcomes and Contextual Factors between 1998-2018: findings from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study are included in the  All-Island Alcohol Data DirectoryThe directory collates data and information on alcohol consumption and related harm on the island of Ireland. The resource was developed as part of a programme of all-island cooperation on alcohol policy driven by the North South Alcohol Policy Advisory Group (NSAPAG) which is chaired by the Institute of Public Health. The resource was first made publicly available in May 2019 and is updated quarterly. IPH moderates and uploads resources to the Alcohol Data Directory on behalf of the NSAPAG.

Dr András Költő interviewed by journalist Ed Holt for the Lancet

June 2021

HBSC Ireland team member Dr András Költő was interviewed by journalist Ed Holt for a Lancet article discussing the new legislation in Hungary banning the portrayal or promotion of homosexuality or sex reassignment to anyone under 18 years of age. Read the article Mental health fears over Hungarian anti-LGBTQI laws. DOI:
Describing the situation in Hungary for LGBTI+ people, especially LGBTI+ young people, as grave Dr Költő will be presenting findings from the study LGBTI+ Youth in Ireland and across Europe: A two-phased Landscape and Research Gap Analysis to the Hungarian Psychological Association’s LGBTQ Section later in the summer to discuss what can be done to combat this abominable law. 

Growing Up in Ireland: The lives of 9-year-olds of cohort '08

26 June 2021

The report Growing Up in Ireland: The lives of 9-year-olds of cohort '08 contains both Irish and International HBSC data. The reserch finds that 9-year-olds’ experiences and developmental outcomes – particularly in terms of physical health, socio-emotional well-being and difficulties, play and activities, and attitudes to, and engagement with, school – were associated with both gender and family circumstances.

Launch of ‘LGBTI+ Youth in Ireland and across Europe

24 May 2021

LGBTI+ Landscape Report Cover
Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY), Roderic O’Gorman, T.D., today (24 May) launched the ‘LGBTI+ Youth in Ireland and across Europe: A two-phased Landscape and Research Gap Analysis’.

The research, conducted jointly by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) and NUI Galway reviewed all relevant research on LGBTI+ youth in Ireland and Europe since 2000.

The report was led by HBSC Team  members Dr András Költő, Dr Elena Vaughan, Dr Colette Kelly and Professor Saoirse Nic Gabhainn, with Dr Linda O’Sullivan from DCEDIY and Professor Elizabeth Saewyc from the University of British Columbia, Canada.

You can read the full report here.

Download the press release download

A short video on the study can be found here 

A video of the launch webinar can be viewed here

2018 Full Variable Report

This report includes all variables included in the 2018 study, and provides details for every response option by age, gender, and social class and their interactions. The outputs are presented by section below:

About school download
About you download
About you and your friends download
Bullying and cyberbullying download
Eating and dieting download
Electronic communication download
Family characteristics and relationships download
Mental health and wellbeing, discrimination and puberty download
Physical Activity download
Romantic relationships and sexual behaviour download
Sun Protection download
Tobacco, alcohol and drugs download
Violcence and injuries download
Your local area download

LGBTI+ Youth Landscape and Knowledge Gap Analysis Research Report

LGBTI+ launchThe HBSC Ireland team, in collaboration with the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY), will soon publish the LGBTI+ Youth Landscape and Knowledge Gap Analysis Research Report. 

The HBSC Ireland team was commissioned to carry out a Landscape and Knowledge Gap Analysis of the research on LGBTI+ youth health and well-being in Ireland and Europe, and to map the findings to the objectives of the LGBTI+ National Youth Strategy. The report illustrates which objectives are well supported with scientific evidence, and where there are information gaps which need more research.

The launch will be held via Zoom on the 24th of May 2021 (Monday) between 4.00-6.00pm Irish Time to share the report on the findings of this project with the wider community of stakeholders, including young people, service providers, LGBTI+ youth organisations, the research community and policy- and decision-makers.

The report will be launched by Minister Roderic O’Gorman, T.D., with the research team and staff of the DCEDIY. Attendees will be asked for feedback and input into targeted short summary reports during breakout sessions being held as part of the launch.

If you would like to attend, please complete the Registration Form

New HRB report on alcohol

The fourth alcohol overview undertaken by the HRB: Alcohol consumption, alcohol-related harm and alcohol policy in Ireland. HRB Overview Series 11 is now avaiableThis overview contains updated data and information to assess the current situation in Ireland regarding alcohol consumption and harm, and policy responses, and to analyse trends over time. It is compiled using a variety of Irish data sources including HBSC Ireland data.

Data Visualisations

April 2021

The HBSC Ireland team have published interactive data visualisations of data from the report Trends in Health Behaviours, Health Outcomes and Contextual Factors between 1998-2018: findings from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study. These visualisations offer new ways to explore key findings:

  • Trends in Health Behaviours 1998-2018 - Current smoking, ever been drunk, cannabis use, bullying others, trying to lose weight, fruit consumption, tooth brushing, seatbelt use, vigorous exercise, having had sexual intercourse and condom use at last sexual intercourse.
  • Trends in Age of Initiation 1998-2018 - Age of first cigarette, age of first alcoholic drink
  • Trends in Health Outcomes 1998-2018 - Headache, feeling low, medically attaned injury, self-rated health, happy with life at present, life satisfaction
  • Trends in Social Contexts of Children's Lives 1998-2018 - Communication with mother, communication with father, live with both parents, liking school, organising school events, pressured by school work, close friends of the same sex, evenings out with friends, feel safe in the local area, good places to spend free time, help or favours from neighbours

Health Research Board Factsheets

HBSC Ireland data features in 2 updated factsheets published by the Health Research Board:

HRB (2021). Factsheet – Smoking: the Irish situation. Dublin: Health Research Board. download

HRB (2021). Factsheet – Young people, drugs and alcohol: the Irish situation. Dublin: Health Research Board. download

Trends Report Webinar

Trends Report Infographic

HBSC Ireland Trends report infographic

download a printable copy of this Infographic of findings from the latest HBSC Trends report

Trends in Health Behaviours, Health Outcomes and Contextual Factors between 1998-2018.

2021 HBSC Trends report cover‌The HBSC Ireland report Trends in Health Behaviours, Health Outcomes and Contextual Factors between 1998-2018: findings from the Irish Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study was launched on 8th March 2021 by Frank Feighan, Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Wellbeing and National Drugs Strategy.

The report explores the trends in the health and wellbeing of children in Ireland between 1998 and 2018. To date, HBSC Ireland has collected data from 62,720 school-aged children aged 10-17 years across the Republic of Ireland. The report describes the self-reported health status of children in Ireland over time in relation to key indicators: health behaviours, health outcomes and the contexts of their lives. Internationally comparable trends data are also included.

Download the report:

Gavin, A., Költő, A., Kelly, C., Molcho, M., & Nic Gabhainn, S. (2021). Trends in Health Behaviours, Health Outcomes and Contextual Factors between 1998-2018: findings from the Irish Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study. Dublin: Department of Health download

Download a copy of the press release: English version download,  Irish version download

Watch the video of the children's comments presented during the lauch webinar.‌

LGBT+ teens more likely to do volunteer work

February 2021

Lesbian and gay youth are twice as likely to engage in volunteer work as heterosexual teens, research by HBSC Ireland Team members has revealed.

The report on the study - Connected, Respected, and Contributing to Their World: The Case of Sexual Minority and Non-Minority Young People in Ireland - revealed that bisexual youth were more likely than the other groups to be discriminated based on their age and gender.

Lead authors Dr András Költő and Dr Elena Vaughan hope that these findings will complement Ireland’s National LGBTI+ Youth Strategy 2018-2020, the world’s first governmental strategy that aims to improve sexual and gender minority young people’s health and wellbeing. 

Read the full NUIG press release.

New Journal Articles

February 2021

HBSC Ireland team members are the lead authors on two recently published journal articles:

Költő, A., Gavin, A., Vaughan, E., Kelly, C., Molcho, M., & Nic Gabhainn, S. (2021). Connected, respected, and contributing to their world: the case of sexual minority and non-minority young people in Ireland. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(3), 1118. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph18031118 download

Molcho, M., Gavin, A., & Goodwin, D. (2020). Levels of physical activity and mental health in adolescents in Ireland. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18, 1713. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph18041713 download

See the publications page for a full list of journal articles containing HBSC Ireland data.

State of the Nation's Children: Ireland 2020.

22 December 2020

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) have published the State of the Nation's Children: Ireland Report  2020 (SONC). HBSC Ireland is a main data source for this report.

The new format of the report is a web version, with links provided to the underlying data tables.  

New report on young carer's in Ireland

1 December 2020

Family Carers in Ireland 2020
‌Family Carers Ireland have published an new report briefing which sets out key findings relating to young carers' health and wellbeing, social enviroments and health behaviours. The report draws on findings from the HSBC Ireland 2018 study,

Download the full report: Young Carers in Ireland: Insight into the Prevalence and Experiences of Young Carers in Ireland using data from the HBSC 2018 Study.

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    

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

HBSC Ireland team member Colette Kelly is lead author of the following article on Youth Participation and several other articles are co-cuthored by HBSC Ireland Team members.

Kelly, C., Branquinho, C., Dzielska, A., Matos, M.G., Melkumova, M., Pavlova, D., Pickett, W., & Nic Gabhainn, S. (2020). Youth participation in the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study. Journal of Adolescent Health, 66(6), S6-S8. DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2020.03.015 download


19 May 2020

The HBSC international report from the 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.

In this new report Irish 11, 13 and 15 year olds are compared to those in 44 other countries across Europe and North America. Key comparative findings show that:

  • Irish children rank highly for eating breakfast and low for sugar-sweetened soft drink consumption at all ages. There have been significant reductions in sweets and soft drink consumption since 2014
  • Ireland ranks low at all ages for reported tobacco and alcohol use
  • Ireland ranks high relative to other countries in reported vigorous physical activity
  • Life satisfaction has significantly reduced since 2014, and Ireland ranks low for life satisfaction among 15-year olds
  • Ireland ranks highly for problematic social media use at all ages, and among 13 and 15 year olds, Ireland ranks highly for reports of having been cyberbullied.

See here for the Press release for Ireland (As Gaeilge) and the WHO EURO press release. Connect with us through ‎@hbscireland for updates.

Data collected for the study are based on surveys completed by thousands of adolescents, thereby ensuring that their voices and concerns can be taken fully into account when the WHO frames its European strategies, policies and actions for improving child and adolescent health and well-being. 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 2022, will therefore reflect the impact of the pandemic on the lives of young people.

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


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