Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey 2015: mental wellbeing summary

A summary of key long-term trends in the mental wellbeing of adolescents in Scotland.

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SALSUS 2015: Technical details

Survey Background

The Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey ( SALSUS) is a continuation of a long established series of national surveys on smoking, drinking and drug use. These were carried out jointly in Scotland and England between 1982 and 2000, to provide a national picture of young peoples' smoking (from 1982), drinking (from 1990), and drug use (from 1998) behaviours within the context of other lifestyle, health and social factors. Since 2002, Scotland has developed its own, more tailored, survey known as SALSUS.

SALSUS measures progress towards Scottish Government targets for smoking and drug use, and is used to inform the Scottish Government priority of addressing harmful drinking among young people.

This report presents the findings from the mental wellbeing questions of the 2015 wave of the Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey, therefore there is no reference to substance use.


SALSUS is a self-completion survey administered by teachers in a mixed ability class, under exam conditions. In the past the survey has been completed on paper, but for the first time, in the 2015 wave, half of the sample completed the survey online.

A random nationally representative sample of S2 and S4 pupils in school was selected with classes as the primary sampling unit. All local authority and independent schools in Scotland were eligible for inclusion in the sample, with the exception of special schools.

Fieldwork was completed between September 2015 and January 2016. The overall response rate was 53%.

Data was weighted by local authority, age, sex, school sector (state/independent), school denomination and by urban/rural classification.

Further Information

More information on survey methodology can be found in the technical report available at:

The full SALSUS Mental Wellbeing report is available at:

Contact Details

For further information and queries, please get in touch at


Email: Julie Guy

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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