Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS): National Overview 2015

Provides an overview of findings from the Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS) 2015.

This document is part of a collection

Methods and Notes on Interpretation

For full details of the methodology, including changes to the questionnaire, please see the accompanying SALSUS 2015 Technical Report.

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. Analysis showed very little evidence of a mode effect: in other words, the responses from pupils who completed the survey online were very similar to the responses from those who completed the survey on paper. Comparisons can therefore be made with previous waves to see trends over time.

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

Fieldwork was undertaken between September 2015 and January 2016.


  • When differences between estimates are specifically commented on, these differences are statistically significant at the 95% level.
  • Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Rounding can also cause slight discrepancies between the sum of reported percentages and the actual percentage if combined. For example, 40% (40.4%) of 15 year olds are very confident and 47% (47.4%) are fairly confident that they have the information they need to make the right choices about their health and wellbeing. If these are combined it would be reported that 88% (87.8%) are confident.
  • Some pupils did not answer each question. Where answers are missing, these have been excluded from analyses, hence charts and tables that describe the same population may have varying bases.
  • Throughout the report pupils in S2 are referred to as '13 year olds' and S4 pupils are referred to as '15 year olds' for ease. It should be borne in mind that some pupils within these categories may be slightly older or younger.
  • While there are associations between many of the behaviours explored in this report, conclusions about causality cannot be drawn.


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