Levels of confidence among young Scots at lowest levels in 24 years

Levels of confidence among adolescents in Scotland are at the lowest levels in 24 years according to a national study.

Levels of confidence among young people in Scotland have hit rock bottom, according to a new study. Picture: TSPL
Levels of confidence among young people in Scotland have hit rock bottom, according to a new study. Picture: TSPL

The new 2018 Health Beahaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study also found just over a third (35 per cent) said they suffer multiple health complaints every week, with sleeping difficulties, feeling nervous and irritable among the most common complaints.

Sleep problems among adolescents have been linked to electronic devices and social media in other studies.

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Beyond mental health and wellbeing, the HBSC study covers areas such as sleep habits, time spent online, physical activity as well as school and home life.

The report presents data collected from surveys with a representable sample of 11, 13 and 15-year-olds in Scotland in 2018. The surveys were conducted in schools, with all pupils in the selected classes asked to fill in the confidential questionnaire anonymously.

Key findings include the majority (85 per cent) of young people reporting high life satisfaction in 2018, while almost one in five adolescents rated their health as excellent.

This is the eighth consecutive World Health Organisation (WHO) cross-national HBSC survey in which Scotland has participated, providing data on the health of the nation’s young people over the last 28 years.

A wider report on the health of young people across the world is due to be published later this year.

The lead author of the study, Dr Jo Inchley, from the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow, said: “These findings provide a comprehensive picture of young people’s health across Scotland. We’ve seen improvements in recent years in areas such as substance use and eating behaviours. But at the same time, new challenges such as social media are increasingly impacting on how young people live and these can have a significant impact on their wellbeing.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We want all young people to grow up in a modern Scotland with good mental wellbeing, and with support for issues they say matter to them. The rollout of our £250 million package of measures to support positive mental health for children and young people is under way.”