Health Behavior in School-Aged Children (HBSC) is a cross-national, school-based research study conducted in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office in Europe begun in 1982 to collect information on health-related attitudes and behaviors of young people. These studies are based on nationally independent surveys in as many as 30 participating countries and are conducted every four years since the 1985-1986 school year. The target population of the HBSC study is young people attending school, aged 11, 13, and 15 years old. These age groups represent the onset of adolescence, the challenge of physical and emotional changes, and the middle years when important life and career decisions are beginning to be made. The survey is carried out on a nationally representative sample in each participating country. The sample consists of approximately 1,500 adolescents from each age group. The United States was one of three countries chosen to implement the survey out of cycle. The study results can be used as stand-alone data or for comparisons to the other countries involved in the international HBSC. The HBSC has two main objectives. The first objective is to monitor health-risk behaviors and attitudes in youth over time to obtain background data and identify targets for health promotion initiatives. The second objective is to provide researchers with relevant information to understand and explain the development of health attitudes and behaviors through early adolescence. The study contains variables dealing with many types of drugs and also examines the ease of obtaining drugs, frequency of drug usage, and other health behaviors and their history such as eating habits, family make-up, depression, stealing, fighting, bringing weapons to school, anger management, attention span at school, and opinions about school.
The HBSC is sponsored by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
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