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Publication - Statistics Publication

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

Published: 17 May 2017
Part of:
Children and families, Education, Health and social care
ISBN:
9781786529626

Report on the mental wellbeing of adolescents in Scotland.

44 page PDF

3.4MB

44 page PDF

3.4MB

Contents
Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey 2015: mental wellbeing report
4 Emotional and behavioural problems and mental wellbeing and family

44 page PDF

3.4MB

4 Emotional and behavioural problems and mental wellbeing and family

The family circumstances analysed in this chapter are pupil's family structure, parental knowledge of activities, whether they are likely to talk to their parents about something worrying them, and whether or not they have any caring responsibilities at home. These variables are analysed using the ( SDQ) total difficulties score and the mean WEMWBS score to determine whether each family variable was correlated with emotional and behavioural problems and mental wellbeing, respectively.

Family structure

Emotional and behavioural problems

A pupil's family structure was associated with emotional and behavioural problems. Pupils who live with both parents were less likely than those in other family situations to have a borderline or abnormal total difficulties score. Similar proportions of pupils who lived with a single parent, and those who had a step parent living with them at home had a borderline or abnormal total difficulties score (Figure 4.1).

Figure 4.1: Total difficulties score by family status (2015)

Figure 4.1: Total difficulties score by family status (2015) 

Base: all pupils (21,410)

Mental wellbeing

Mental wellbeing also showed a relationship with family structure. Among all subgroups, those who lived with both parents had better mental wellbeing (a higher mean WEMWBS score) than those who lived with a single or step parent.

Although the differences are small, and should be interpreted with caution, the analysis showed that girls living in a single parent family had better mental wellbeing, compared with those living in a family with a step parent, whereas the reverse was true for boys (Figure 4.2).

Figure 4.2: Mean WEMWBS score by family status (2015)

Figure 4.2: Mean WEMWBS score by family status (2015) 

Base: See Appendix A

Caring responsibilities

Emotional and behavioural problems

A question on whether pupils had any caring responsibilities at home was added to SALSUS in 2015. Pupils were asked: 'Do you care for or look after someone in your home because, for example, they have long-term physical/mental ill health/disability? In other words, are you a young carer?'

Around 10% of pupils had caring responsibilities at home. Pupils who did were considerably more likely to have a borderline or abnormal total difficulties score: 46% of pupils with caring responsibilities had a borderline or abnormal total difficulties score, compared with 29% of who did not have caring responsibilities (Figure 4.3a).

Figure 4.3a: Total difficulties score by whether a pupil is a young carer (2015)

Figure 4.3: Total difficulties score by whether a pupil is a young carer (2015)

Base: all pupils (21,092)

When broken down by age and gender, it appeared that the relationship between caring responsibilities and emotional and behavioural problems was strongest among 15 year old girls (62% of 15 year old girls with caring responsibilities had a borderline or abnormal total difficulties score, compared with 36% who did not (Figure 4.3b).

Figure 4.3b: Total difficulties score by caring responsibilities by gender by age (% borderline/abnormal) (2015)

Figure 4.3: Total difficulties score by caring responsibilities by gender by age (% borderline/abnormal) (2015)

Base: those with caring responsibilities 13 year old girls (587); 13 year old boys (636); 15 year old girls (418); 15 year old boys (384)

Mental wellbeing

Pupils who had some form of caring responsibility at home were more likely to have lower mental wellbeing than those who did not: those with caring responsibilities had a mean WEMWBS score of 46.2, while those who did not had a mean WEMWBS score of 48.7.

13 year old girls showed the greatest difference in mean WEMWBS score between those with caring responsibilities and those who did not (a mean score of 44.2, compared with 48.7) indicating that the relationship between mental wellbeing and caring responsibilities is strongest for this subgroup (Figure 4.4).

Figure 4.4: Mean WEMWBS score by caring responsibilities, by gender and age (2015)

Figure 4.4: Mean WEMWBS score by caring responsibilities, by gender and age (2015) 

Base: See Appendix A

Talking to parents

Emotional and behavioural problems

New questions were added to the 2015 SALSUS survey on the likelihood of a pupil talking to their father, mother or another person within their family about something that was worrying them in order to provide an insight into their relationship with their parents and other adults.

Pupils who were unlikely to talk to their parents about something that was worrying them were more likely than those who were to have a borderline or abnormal total difficulties score. Pupils who were unlikely to talk to their mother were slightly more likely than those who were unlikely to talk to their father to score borderline/abnormal scores.

As Figure 4.5 shows, over half (53%) of pupils who were not at all likely to talk to their father had a borderline or abnormal total difficulties score, compared with 21% of those who were very or fairly likely to talk to their father.

Figure 4.5: Total difficulties score by likelihood of pupil talking to father (2015) [13]

Figure 4.5: Total difficulties score by likelihood of pupil talking to father (2015)

Base: all pupils (21,215)

The same pattern emerged in terms of a pupil's likelihood to talk to their mother, although to a greater extent. 60% of pupils who said they are not at all likely to talk with their mother had a borderline or abnormal total difficulties score, compared with 22% of those who were very likely to talk to their mother if they were worried about something (Figure 4.6).

Figure 4.6: Total difficulties score by likelihood of pupil talking to mother (2015) [14]

Figure 4.6: Total difficulties score by likelihood of pupil talking to mother (2015)

Base: all pupils (21,376)

Mental wellbeing

Mental wellbeing was notably higher among those who were 'very' or 'fairly' likely to talk to their parents than those who were 'not very' or 'not at all' likely to talk to their parents.

The association between willingness to talk to a parent and mental wellbeing was stronger among girls than boys. Among girls, it was stronger among 13 year olds than 15 year olds (although not among boys) (Figure 4.7 and 4.8).

Among girls of both age groups, the relationship between mental wellbeing and talking to their mother was stronger than that with talking to their father. This was not the case for boys (Figure 4.7 and 4.8).

Figure 4.7: Mean WEMWBS score by likelihood of pupil talking to father, by gender and age (2015)

Figure 4.7: Mean WEMWBS score by likelihood of pupil talking to father, by gender and age (2015) 

Base: See Appendix A

Figure 4.8: Mean WEMWBS score by likelihood of pupil talking to mother, by gender and age (2015)

Figure 4.8: Mean WEMWBS score by likelihood of pupil talking to mother, by gender and age (2015) 

Base: See Appendix A

Parental knowledge

Emotional and behavioural problems

Pupils are asked how much knowledge ('a lot', 'a little' or 'nothing') their mother and father had about who their friends are, how they spend their money, where they are after school, where they go at night and what they do with their free time. The answers pupils gave to these questions were used to create a composite knowledge score which was then banded into three answer categories: pupils who think their parents who know a lot (an above median [15] composite score) about them, pupils who think their parents know a reasonable amount about them (a median composite score) and those who think they know little about them (a below median composite score).

There was a correlation between perceived parental knowledge of activities and a pupil's emotional and behavioural problems. Pupils who thought their parents knew more about their activities are more likely to have normal total difficulties scores.

Those who thought their father knew little of their activities were twice as likely as those who thought their father knew a lot to have a borderline or abnormal total difficulties score (40% and 20%, respectively) (Figure 4.9).

Figure 4.9: Total difficulties score, by paternal knowledge of activities (2015)

Figure 4.9: Total difficulties score, by paternal knowledge of activities (2015)

Base: all pupils (19,979)

There was also a strong relationship between maternal knowledge and emotional and behavioural problems. Pupils who though their mother knew a little were more than twice as likely than those that thought their mother knew a lot to have a borderline or abnormal total difficulties score (44%, compared with 21 %) (Figure 4.10).

Figure 4.10: Total difficulties score, by maternal knowledge of activities (2015)

Figure 4.10: Total difficulties score, by maternal knowledge of activities (2015)

Base: all pupils (21,067)

Mental wellbeing

Mental wellbeing was correlated with perceived parental knowledge of activities. Pupils who think their parents know more about their activities are more likely to have better mental wellbeing (a higher mean WEMWBS score).

The association between mean WEMWBS score and father's knowledge was stronger among girls than among boys. While there was no difference between 13 and 15 year old boys, the correlation between mental wellbeing was stronger among 13 year girls than 15 year old girls (Figure 4.11).

Figure 4.11: Mean WEMWBS score, by paternal knowledge of activities, gender and age (2015)

Figure 4.11: Mean WEMWBS score, by paternal knowledge of activities, gender and age (2015)

Base: See Appendix A

The same pattern emerged for mother's knowledge, although to a slightly greater extent. The greatest difference was, again, among 13 year old girls: the mean WEMWBS score rose from 42.8 among those who thought their mother knew little to 51.5 among those who thought their mother knew a lot (Figure 4.12).

Figure 4.12: Mean WEMWBS score, by maternal knowledge of activities, gender and age (2015)

Figure 4.12: Mean WEMWBS score, by maternal knowledge of activities, gender and age (2015)

Base: See Appendix A


Contact

Email: Julie Guy

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG