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Subjective health and mental well-being of adolescents and the health promoting school: A cross-sectional multilevel analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Kate Ann Levin, Joanna Catherine Inchley, Dorothy Bruce Currie, Candace Currie

School/Research organisations


Purpose – The aim of this paper is to examine the impact of the health promoting school (HPS) on adolescent well-being.

Design/methodology/approach – Data from the 2006 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children: WHO-collaborative Study in Scotland were analysed using multilevel linear regression analyses for outcome measures: happiness, confidence, life satisfaction, feeling left out, helplessness, multiple health complaints (MHC) and self-rated health.

Findings – Particularly high proportions of both boys and girls reported high life satisfaction and no MHC. For the majority of outcomes, mean proportions of young people reporting positive well-being were greater for schools that had or were working towards HPS status compared with those that did not. The odds of young people in a HPS never feeling left out were significantly greater than those in a school with no HPS status (OR=1.54, with 95 per cent CI (1.03, 2.29) for boys, OR=1.60 (1.03, 2.50) for girls). Similarly, among girls, the odds of never feeling helpless were also significantly greater (OR=1.57 (1.07, 2.16)). However, the odds of excellent health were lower for girls in a HPS (OR=0.60 (0.38, 0.95)).

Research limitations/implications – The findings suggest that while achieving an atmosphere of inclusion in schools, the HPS may also have increased awareness of health among girls, but may not have had much influence on life satisfaction, confidence or happiness.

Originality/value – The mental well-being of children and adolescents is a priority area for the World Health Organisation and the Scottish Government. This is a relatively new field with little research undertaken to date looking at the impact of HPS on mental well-being.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-184
JournalHealth Education
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012

    Research areas

  • Adolescent health, Health promoting schools, Mental health, Personal health, Scotland, Young adults, Young people

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