The Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) study: Methodological developments and current tensions

Research and Evaluation Branch, Public Health Strategy Division, Department of Public Health and Health Professions, Welsh Assembly Government, Cardiff, UK.
International Journal of Public Health (Impact Factor: 2.7). 08/2009; 54 Suppl 2(S2):140-50. DOI: 10.1007/s00038-009-5405-9
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To describe the methodological development of the HBSC survey since its inception and explore methodological tensions that need to be addressed in the ongoing work on this and other large-scale cross-national surveys.
Using archival data and conversations with members of the network, we collaboratively analysed our joint understandings of the survey's methodology.
We identified four tensions that are likely to be present in upcoming survey cycles: (1) maintaining quality standards against a background of rapid growth, (2) continuous improvement with limited financial resources, (3) accommodating analysis of trends with the need to improve and adapt questionnaire content, and (4) meeting the differing requirements of scientific and policy audiences.
While these challenges are not trivial, the structure of the HBSC network and its long-term experience in working through such challenges renders it likely that HBSC can provide a model of other similar studies facing these tensions.

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Available from: Saoirse Nic Gabhainn, Sep 29, 2015
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    • "Adolescents' participation in the study was voluntary, anonymous, and there were no explicit incentives provided for participation. The administration of the surveys was conducted according to standard guidelines from the HBSC survey protocol (Currie et al., 2008; Roberts et al., 2009), and was carried out by trained teachers during class time. "
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    ABSTRACT: In this study, we investigated the relationship between screen-based behaviours, physical activity, and health complaints (headaches, feeling low, irritability, and nervousness). Screen-based behaviour included TV viewing, computer use, and time spent playing video games. Data were collected from 4462 Portuguese adolescents (2394 girls) aged 11-16 years. Girls who reported engaging in more screen-based behaviour (hours/day) also reported having more headaches, feeling lower, being more irritable, and feeling more nervous. Boys who reported more screen time were more irritable. Physical activity (times/week) was negatively associated with reports of feeling nervous among girls, and with headaches, feeling low, irritability, and feeling nervous among boys. Considering that time spent using the computer is related with more health complaints, and physical activity was related with fewer health complaints among boys, it is important to develop strategies to reduce adolescents' computer screen time, and to promote physical activity. Copyright © 2015 The Foundation for Professionals in Services for Adolescents. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Journal of Adolescence 10/2015; 44:150-157. DOI:10.1016/j.adolescence.2015.07.018 · 2.05 Impact Factor
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    • "Self-completion questionnaires were administered in school classroom with requirements in terms of sampling, questionnaire items and survey administration being set out in a standardised research protocol. All of the questions used in the HBSC survey must have evidence of reliability and validity when used in multiple countries before they are considered for inclusion (Roberts et al., 2009). From a list of schools based on information from the Institute for Information on Education, a contributory organization of Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, 91 schools from all 14 regions of the Czech Republic were randomly chosen to create a representative sample. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: It is well described that moderate-to-vigorous physical activity improves the health status of children and adolescents. Thus, monitoring the levels of physical activity together with the motives to perform is critical for future programs aiming to enhance physical activity in youth and young adults in the Czech Republic and further afield in other Central and Eastern European nations that are in transition. Objective: The aim of this study is to provide basic overview about moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), vigorous physical activity (VPA) and motives to physical activity of Czech adolescents on the basis of gender and age group. Methods: Data from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study conducted in May-June 2010 in the Czech Republic. The sample consisted of 4,385 Czech pupils (48.5% boys; age 11, n = 418; age 13, n = 1,449; age 15, n = 1,518). Chi-square test of independence was used to provide basic comparison on basis of gender and age groups. Results: A substantial part of boys and girls are not participating in MVPA and VPA as recommended. MVPA and VPA among girls significantly decreased from age 11 to age 15. Boys compared to girls reported significantly more moderate-to-vigorous and vigorous physical activities in all age groups, except 11 years old adolescents where the level of MVPA among girls and boys did not differ. Girls appear to be more influenced by social motives. Importance of these motives became higher with increasing age. Achievement motivation for physical activity is more important for boys and it also is increasing with age. Conclusions: Better understanding of the motives for physical activity as well as gender and age based differences in physical activity levels can significantly contribute to better planning of national and local intervention promoting active living.
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    • "Each country followed their respective national ethical and legal requirements for this survey. For more detailed information regarding the HBSC study and methodology, see Currie et al. (2009) and Roberts et al. (2009) "
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    ABSTRACT: Background There is considerable variation in adolescent pain prevalence across epidemiological studies, with limited information on pain-related behaviours among adolescents, including medicine use. The aims of this study were (1) to examine the prevalence of recurrent pain among 15-year-old adolescents internationally; (2) to investigate the association between recurrent pain and medicine use behaviours among boys and girls; and (3) to evaluate the consistency of these associations across countries.Methods The World Health Organization (WHO) collaborative international Health Behaviour in School-aged Children 2009/2010 study collects data about self-reported aches and medicine use from 36,762 15-year-old adolescents from 22 countries/regions in Europe and the United States. Multi-level multivariate logistic regression, stratified by gender, was used to analyse the association between recurrent pain and medicine use for headache, stomachache, nervousness and difficulties in getting to sleep.ResultsMore than 30% of adolescents reported recurrent headache, almost 30% recurrent backache and approximately 20% recurrent stomachache. Although pain prevalence and medicine use for aches were much higher for girls, the association between pain and medicine use was similarly strong for both genders. Adolescents with recurrent pain are more likely to use medicines also for non-corresponding pain, nervousness and difficulties in getting to sleep. The association between recurrent pain and medicine use was consistent across countries despite large-country differences in the prevalence of recurrent pain and medicine use.Conclusions Recurrent pain in adolescence is common cross-nationally. Adolescents with recurrent pain are more likely to use medicine in general. Recurrent pain and medicine use should be addressed in adolescent health policies.
    European journal of pain (London, England) 01/2015; 19(1):77-84. DOI:10.1002/ejp.524 · 2.93 Impact Factor
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