Publication - Research and analysis

Growing up in Scotland: life at age 12

Published: 4 Jul 2019
Directorate:
Children and Families Directorate
Part of:
Children and families
ISBN:
9781787818576

Some initial findings about the lives of 12-year-old children living in Scotland, using data collected from the Growing Up in Scotland study (GUS).

Growing up in Scotland: life at age 12
Risky behaviours

Risky behaviours

Children were asked about the extent to which they had participated in a range of ‘risky behaviours’. These included health-related behaviours - such as smoking cigarettes and e-cigarettes and drinking alcohol – and anti-social behaviour such as vandalism or shoplifting.

Smoking & alcohol

Four percent of children had ever tried a cigarette and 7% had ever tried an e-cigarette or vaping device. Boys (9%) were more likely than girls (5%) to have tried an e-cigarette but there was no statistically significant difference in the proportion who had tried a cigarette. Children living in the most deprived areas were more likely than those living in the least deprived ones to have tried cigarettes (8% compared with 1%) and e-cigarettes (13% compared with 3%). Finally, there was a clear relationship between trying a cigarette and trying an e-cigarette. The majority (72%) of those who had tried a cigarette had also tried an e-cigarette, compared with only 5% of children who had not tried a cigarette. Four in ten (39%) of the children who had tried vaping had also tried a cigarette.

Proportion of children who had ever tried alcohol a cigarette or an e-cigarette by gender

Proportion of children who had ever tried alcohol a cigarette or an e-cigarette by gender

Twenty percent of children said they had ever drunk alcohol. This was higher amongst boys than girls (23% compared with 17%). However, only 1% of all children said they had been drunk. Experience of drinking alcohol did not vary significantly by area deprivation.

Children who had smoked were significantly more likely than those who had not smoked to have also drunk alcohol. Seventy percent of those who had tried a cigarette had also drunk alcohol while 18% of those who had not tried a cigarette reported having drunk alcohol.

Children who had smoked were more likely to have also drunk alcohol

Children who had smoked were more likely to have also drunk alcohol

Anti-social behaviour

To measure their involvement in anti-social behaviour, children were asked whether they had ever done any of the following:

  • Taken something from a shop or store without paying for it
  • Been rowdy or rude in a public place so that people complained or they got into trouble
  • Stolen money or other things that someone else had left lying around
  • Deliberately damaged or destroyed property
  • Broken into a locked place to steal something
  • Written things or sprayed paint on property
  • Carried a knife or weapon in case it is needed in a fight
  • Used force, threats or a weapon to get money or something else from somebody
  • Hit, kicked or punched someone with the intention of hurting or injuring them

Thirty percent of children reported being involved in at least one of the activities listed, with boys more likely than girls to have done so (40% compared with 21%). Children who lived in the most deprived 20% of areas were more likely than those living in the least deprived areas of Scotland to have been involved in some form of anti-social behaviour (36% compared with 25%).

Boys and children living in the most deprived areas were more likely to have reported involvement in anti-social behaviour than girls and children living in the least deprived areas

Boys and children living in the most deprived areas were more likely to have reported involvement in anti-social behaviour than girls and children living in the least deprived areas

The most common anti-social behaviour reported was fighting, with 19% of children saying they had done this. Boys were more likely than girls to have been in a fight (29% compared with 9%). Similarly, children living in the most deprived areas were more likely than those from the least deprived areas to have been in a fight (22% compared with 15%).

Involvement in anti-social behaviour

Involvement in anti-social behaviour

Six percent of children said they had taken something from a shop or a store without paying for it. More than twice the proportion of children from the most deprived areas than from the least deprived areas reported having done so (10% compared with 4%). There were no statistically significant differences by area deprivation in the proportion of children who reported any of the other theft-related offences (i.e. stole money or other things that someone left lying somewhere; used force, threats or a weapon to get money or something else from somebody; broke into a locked place to steal something).

Children from the most deprived areas were more likely than those from the least deprived areas to report taking something from a shop or a store without paying for it

Children from the most deprived areas were more likely than those from the least deprived areas to report taking something from a shop or a store without paying for it

Nine percent of children said they had been rowdy or rude in a public place to the extent that they got into trouble. Boys were twice as likely as girls to report this behaviour (13% compared with 6%). Similarly, children living in the most deprived areas were twice as likely as those living in the least deprived areas to say they had been in trouble for being rowdy in public (14% compared with 7%).

Boys were more likely than girls to have been rowdy or rude in a public place to the extent that they got into trouble for it

Boys were more likely than girls to have been rowdy or rude in a public place to the extent that they got into trouble for it


Contact

Email: GUS@gov.scot