Young people’s mental and physical health

Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) study

Young people's healthFor over 30 years HBSC has been a pioneer cross-national study gaining insight into young people's well-being, health behaviours and their social context. This research collaboration with the WHO Regional Office for Europe involves 48 countries and regions across Europe and North America.

HBSC collects data every four years on 11-, 13- and 15-year-old boys' and girls' health and well-being, social environments and health behaviours. These years mark a period of increased autonomy that can influence how their health and health-related behaviours develop.

The international standard questionnaire produced for every survey cycle enables the collection of common data across all participating countries and thus enables the quantification of patterns of key health behaviours, health indicators and contextual variables. These data allow cross-national comparisons to be made and, with successive surveys, trend data is gathered and may be examined at both the national and cross-national level. The international network is organized around an interlinked series of focus and topic groups related to the following areas:

  • Body image
  • Bullying and fighting
  • Eating behaviours
  • Health complaints
  • Injuries
  • Life satisfaction
  • Obesity
  • Oral health
  • Physical activity and sedentary behaviour
  • Relationships: Family and Peers
  • School environment
  • Self-rated health
  • Sexual behaviour
  • Socioeconomic environment
  • Substance use: Alcohol, Tobacco and Cannabis
  • Weight reduction behaviour

With adolescents making about one sixth of the world's population, HBSC uses its findings to inform policy and practice to improve the lives of millions of young people

The England Team

Teacher Connectedness Project

Teacher Connectedness ProjectThe Teacher Connectedness Project “Well-being among European youth: The contribution of student-teacher relationships in the secondary-school population (WEY-CRISP)” is a 2-year project funded by the Horizon 2020 programme of the EU (2016-18)

Its aim is to develop the current understanding of teacher connectedness in two key directions:

  • Providing further evidence regarding the contribution of teacher connectedness to youth wellbeing and the factors that increase or decrease the likelihood that teachers become significant adults for adolescents’ wellbeing.
  • Developing a measure on teacher connectedness that taps into the main components of meaningful teacher-student relationships, drawing on both existing scientific evidence and young people’s voices.

Irene García-Moya joined CRIPACC for two years as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow for the Teacher Connectedness Project ( The project is supervised by Professor Fiona Brooks who also leads HBSC England.

Irene is also a member of the Spanish team of the WHO Survey Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) and her major areas of expertise include adolescent development and wellbeing and the importance of family and school experiences during adolescence.

Relational bullying among school-aged girls

Relational bullying among school-aged girlsBullying is a relatively common occurrence in schools worldwide, and has been shown to have long-lasting detrimental effects on young people’s physical, mental and social wellbeing. Bullying behaviours can be broadly categorised into physical, verbal, relational and cyber. Relational bullying describes behaviours which cause harm to the victim through the systematic manipulation and destruction of peer relationships. Few studies have examined the health outcomes associated with relational bullying specifically. Furthermore, relational bullying is often perceived as the least harmful form of bullying, with teachers less likely to intervene.

Kayleigh Chester is Senior Research Assistant for the HBSC England team in CRIPACC and also completing her doctoral research on the topic of relational bullying: “Exploring the health consequences of adolescent relational bullying and mapping protective health assets”. Her doctoral research adopts a mixed methods approach: secondary analysis of data collected as part of the 2014 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study in England, followed by face-to-face interviews with young people aged 12-18 years. Her PhD is supervised by Professor Fiona Brooks (University of Technology Sydney), Dr Lisa Whiting (HSK, UH) and Dr Neil Spencer (Business School, HSK).