Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey 2015: teenage lifestyle trends
Report on the lifestyles trends of 13 and 15 year olds in Scotland.
This document is part of a collection
This report presents the findings from the contextual lifestyle questions of the 2015 wave of the Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey ( SALSUS). The research was commissioned by the Scottish Government and carried out by Ipsos MORI Scotland.
In addition, data was taken from the Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey ( SALSUS) Trend data 1990-2013 in order to analyse the long term trends for these contextual questions  .
Survey background and purpose
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.
About the survey
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 in 2015 half of the sample completed the survey online. Fieldwork was undertaken between September 2015 and January 2016.
Figure 1 Numbers sampled and participated
The overall response rate was 53% based on class and pupil response rate  .
For full details of the methodology please see the accompanying SALSUS 2015 Technical Report.
- Overall, the majority of pupils stated that they liked school 'a lot' or 'a little'. 75% of 13 year olds liked school, compared with 64% of 15 year olds.
- 15 year old girls are more likely to feel pressured by school work 'a lot' than 15 year old boys or 13 year olds. There has been a marked increase in the proportion of 15 year old girls who felt pressured 'a lot' between 2010 and 2015: from 39% in 2010 to 62% in 2015.
- Thirty-eight percent of all pupils reported that they had truanted at least once, in the last 12 months.
- Only a small proportion of pupils had been excluded from secondary school: 10% of 15 year olds and 9% of 13 year olds.
- More than half of 15 year olds (55%) thought they were most likely to go to university when they left school. Fifteen per cent thought they would go on to further education college, 8% into employment and a further 8% thought they would be doing an apprenticeship.
- The majority of all pupils (81%) had three or more close friends and only a very small percentage of pupils (2%) reported having no close friends at all.
- Two-thirds of pupils (66%) had friends of a similar age to them and over a quarter (28%) had friends of a mixed age. There were no notable differences by age or gender.
- It was most common for both 13 and 15 year olds pupils to spend between three and five evenings a week out with friends (46%), with little difference between the subgroups.
- The most common weekly activities among both age groups were listening to music; going online and using social networking sites; and seeing friends.
- There were not many notable differences between 13 and 15 year olds in terms of their leisure activities. However, 13 year olds were more likely than 15 year olds to do a sport (71% of 13 year olds, compared with 61% of 15 year olds) and read books (47%, compared with 33%) on a weekly basis.
- The majority of pupils live with both parents (68% of 13 year olds and 65% of 15 year olds), and around a fifth live with a single parent (20% of 13 year olds and 23% of 15 year olds). Only a small proportion lived with a step parent (8% of 13 year olds and 9% of 15 year olds).
- 13 year olds were more likely than 15 year olds to think that their mother had an average or above level of knowledge about their activities: 68% of 13 year olds thought their mother had an average or above level of knowledge, compared with 57% of 15 year olds.
- As with maternal knowledge, 13 year olds were more likely than 15 year olds to think that their father had average or above knowledge of their activities.
- Across both ages and genders, pupils would be more likely to talk to their mother than father if they were worried about something. There were no gender differences in the likelihood of talking to their mother. However, boys would be more likely than girls to talk to their father if they were worried about something.
- Overall, 10% of pupils reported that they were a young carer.
- There were very few subgroup differences in self-rated health. However, 15 year olds boys and girls were slightly less likely than 13 year olds boys and girls to rate their health as 'good'.
- 16% of pupils reported that they had a physical or mental condition or illness lasting or expected to last 12 months or more in 2015.
- 15 year old girls were more likely than the other subgroups to say that they had a long term illness or condition (21% of 15 year old girls, compared with 14% of 15 year old boys and 13 year olds).
Email: Julie Guy
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
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