The 2014 What About YOUth? (WAY) survey included measures of wellbeing which can be analysed to examine the relationships between health behaviours and attitudes on the wellbeing of 15-year-olds.
This report highlights 4 main findings:
- Young people who engaged in behaviour which might harm their health such as drinking and smoking, having poor diet or exercising rarely, or who had negative feelings towards their body size reported lower wellbeing than those who did not.
- Self-reported wellbeing varied depending on the relative affluence or deprivation of the family, with those whose families were in more affluent groups and living in the least deprived areas reporting higher average wellbeing.
- Young people who stated that they had a disability, long-term illness or medical condition reported lower wellbeing than those who did not.
- Young people who described their sexual orientation as gay, lesbian, bisexual or ‘other’ were more likely to have lower wellbeing than those who declared themselves heterosexual. On average these young people also reported lower life satisfaction and happiness, and higher anxiety.
Commissioners and providers of health, social care and education can use this information to target local resources where they are likely to have most impact in terms of improving the wellbeing of young people.