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Results of the Swedish 2017/18 HBSC study

Social context, health and risk behaviours are all important determinants of health during childhood and adolescence as well as later in life. The Public Health Agency of Sweden has been assigned by the Government to monitor the development of determinants of health in order to recommend future measures. Participation in the HBSC study is an important part of that task.

This latest report presents data collected from 11, 13, and 15-year-olds in November and December 2017 within the HBSC study framework. Just over 4,000 students from 213 schools answered the Swedish questionnaire. Key findings include:

Gender differences in health and body image

The majority of students rate their health as good or very good. Among 13 and 15-year-olds, a lower proportion of girls than boys rate their health as 'good' or 'very good'.

Boys are more often satisfied with their bodies than girls. More girls than boys, of all ages, think that they are 'a bit too fat' or 'much too fat'. More 15-year-old boys than girls think that they are a 'bit too thin' or 'much too thin'. Among 13 and 15-year-olds, a larger share of girls than boys are currently engaged in weight-reduction behaviour.

Most students report high life satisfaction

The large majority of students report high life satisfaction, however, the prevalence declines between ages 11 and 15, especially among girls. There is no gender difference in high life satisfaction among 11-year-olds. At ages 13 and 15, boys report high life satisfaction more often than girls. The share of students who report high life satisfaction has been high and stable throughout the 2000s.

Mental well-being, self-esteem, and self-efficacy are higher among 15-year-old boys compared to girls of the same age.

Multiple health complaints are common 

A large proportion of students reported multiple (two or more) health complaints more than once a week in the past six months. The HBSC symptom checklist includes eight health complaints, such as headaches; stomach aches; feeling low; feeling irritable or bad tempered, and experiencing difficulty getting to sleep. Four of the complaints are more common among 11-year-old girls than boys of the same age. Almost all eight complaints are more common among girls than boys at ages 13 and 15. The proportion of 13 and 15-year-olds reporting multiple health complaints has doubled since the middle of the 1980s. The prevalence of multiple health complaints among 11-year-olds has varied over time but increased between 2013/14 and 2017/18 to the highest proportions recorded since the start of the HBSC  Sweden study in 1985/86.

More students report being bullied 

Since 2009/10, the proportion of students who report being bullied has increased. The highest increase is seen among 13 and 15-year-old girls. In 2017/18, between 7 and 8 per cent of boys and 6 to 10 per cent of girls report being bullied at school.

Fewer students like school and more students are pressured by schoolwork

The proportion of students who report liking school 'a lot' declined between 2013/14 and 2017/18. The proportion of students who report having too much schoolwork 'often' or 'very often' increased between 2013/14 and 2017/18. Also, the proportion of students who report schoolwork being difficult increased between the last two data collections, apart from among 11-year-old boys. Perceived school pressure also increased among girls of all ages and among 15-year-old boys during the same period.

see here for further details

item 5340
[15-01-2019 to 30-11-2019]


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