The Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study: Methodological developments and current tensions

Chris Roberts, J. Freeman, O. Samdal, C. W. Schnohr, M. E. Looze, S. Nic Gabhainn, R. Iannotti, M. Rasmussen, Wolfgang Dür, Danielle Piette, Lidiya Vasileva, William Boyce, Marina Kuzman, Ladislav Csémy, Pernille Due, Antony Morgan, Jorma Tynjälä, Emmanuelle Godeau, Ulrike Ravens-Sieberer, Anna KokkeviBirgit Niclasen, Ágnes Németh, Thoroddur Bjarnason, Yossi Harel-Fisch, Franco Cavallo, Iveta Pudule, Apolinaras Zaborskis, Yolande Wagener, Marianne Massa, Wilma Vollebergh, Oddrun Samdal, Joanna Mazur, Margarida Gaspar de Matos, Adriana Baban, Alexander Komkov, Candace Currie, Elena Morvicova, Helena Jericek, Carmen Moreno Rodriguez, Ulla Marklund, Emmanuel Kuntsche, Lina Kostarova Unkovska, Oya Ercan, Olga Balakireva, Ronald Iannotti

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    529 Scopus citations


    Objectives: To describe the methodological development of the HBSC survey since its inception and explore methodological tensions that need to be addressed in the ongoing work on this and other large-scale cross-national surveys. Methods: Using archival data and conversations with members of the network, we collaboratively analysed our joint understandings of the survey's methodology. Results: We identified four tensions that are likely to be present in upcoming survey cycles: (1) maintaining quality standards against a background of rapid growth, (2) continuous improvement with limited financial resources, (3) accommodating analysis of trends with the need to improve and adapt questionnaire content, and (4) meeting the differing requirements of scientific and policy audiences. Conclusions: While these challenges are not trivial, the structure of the HBSC network and its long-term experience in working through such challenges renders it likely that HBSC can provide a model of other similar studies facing these tensions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)S140-S150
    JournalInternational Journal of Public Health
    Issue numberSUPPL. 2
    StatePublished - Sep 2009


    • Cross-national data management
    • Large-scale surveys
    • Scientific versus policy concerns
    • Survey development


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