Research Impact: The Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study is a World Health Organization (WHO) collaborative cross-national study. The latest 2017/2018 data was compiled with the report launched on the 19th May 2020. There were key findings for Ireland, for example, highest levels of vigorous physical activity among 11 and 13 year olds compared with the other 49 countries in the network. The report titled, “Spotlight on adolescent health and well-being” can be found from the HBSC study website (https://www.hbsc.org) and more information from the Irish coordinators are through NUI Galway.
In this study that was published to supplement the international report, vigorous physical activity was placed in a model of risks for mental health. Through a novel research design that included split sampling and replication to confirm findings, seven clusters of risks were identified; substance use and early sex, low social support, insufficient nutrition, bullying, sugary foods and drinks, physical health risk, and problematic social media use (SMU). Physical activity was in the physical health risk cluster, and one of the main findings was the association with lower life satisfaction among boys and more health complaints in both boys and girls.
These finding continue to confirm gendered differences during early adolescence, whereby masculine behaviours, typically those of the physical nature, are more accepted and therefore carry higher prestige among peers and influence mental health. This societal impression of growing up needs to be taken into consideration when creating programs and future studies on protective factors during early adolescence.
Walsh, S.D, Sela, T., De Looze, M., Craig, W., Cosma, A., Harel-Fisch, Y., Boniel-Nissim, MB., Malinowska-Cieślik , M., Vieno, A., Molcho, M., Ng., K., Pickett, W. 2020. Clusters of Contemporary Risk and Their Relationship to Mental Well-Being Among 15-Year-Old Adolescents Across 37 Countries. Journal of Adolescent Health. VOLUME 66, ISSUE 6, SUPPLEMENT , S40-S49, JUNE 01, 2020. DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2020.02.012