Home > Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study, 2018.

Millar, Sean (2021) Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study, 2018. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 79, Autumn 2021, pp. 32-33.

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The first Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study was conducted in Ireland in 1998 and has been repeated every four years ever since. In 2018, Ireland participated for the sixth time in the HBSC study. The survey included 15,557 children drawn from third class in primary school through to fifth year in post-primary school; 255 primary and post-primary schools across Ireland participated. Data were collected on general health, smoking, use of alcohol and other substances, food and dietary behaviour, exercise and physical activity, self-care, injuries, bullying, and sexual health behaviours. The main results were published in 2021.1 This article describes the results pertaining to the use of cannabis reported in the main report and makes comparisons with previous HBSC surveys.

Cannabis use in the last 12 months

Overall, 8.5% of 10–17-year-olds said they had used cannabis in the last 12 months. The prevalence of cannabis use increased with age and a higher percentage of boys reported using cannabis compared with girls, a difference consistent across each age category (see Table 1). Almost 22% of boys and 14% of girls aged 15–17 years of age reported having used cannabis in the last year.

Source: HBSC Ireland, 20211

Figure 1: Percentage of 10–17-year-olds who reported cannabis use in the last 12 months, overall and by gender from 1998 to 2018 

Table 1: Percentage of 10–17-year-olds reporting cannabis use in the last year, by age group and gender, 2018

Source: HBSC Ireland, 2021 1

Trends in cannabis use among Irish school-aged children, 1998–2018

Although a higher percentage of 10–17-year-olds indicated having used cannabis in the 2018 HBSC survey compared with 2014 (see Figure 1), there has been a steady decrease in the lifetime use of cannabis among school-aged children since 1998, with a 35% reduction among boys and a 22% reduction among girls. Overall, trends in prevalence since 2010 suggest that the use of cannabis has stabilised among 10–17-year-olds in Ireland.

1   Gavin A, Költő A, Kelly C, Molcho M and Nic Gabhainn S (2021) Trends in health behaviours, health outcomes and contextual factors between 1998–2018: findings from the Irish Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study. Dublin: Department of Health and National University of Ireland Galway. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/33868/

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Intervention Type
Screening / Assessment
Issue Title
Issue 79, Autumn 2021
December 2021
Page Range
pp. 32-33
Health Research Board
Issue 79, Autumn 2021

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