The health and well-being of children and young people who are looked after: Findings from a face-to-face survey in Glasgow

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-190
JournalHealth & Social Care in the Community
Volume26
Issue number2
Early online date11 Sep 2017
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Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018
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Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Evidence suggests children and young people who are looked after (LACYP) may have poorer health outcomes than children and young people in the general population, particularly in relation to mental health. This paper discusses findings from a survey of the health and well-being of LACYP in Glasgow. A structured questionnaire used in the 2010 Glasgow Schools Survey (GSS) was adapted and administered in face-to-face interviews with 130 young people aged 11–18 in 2014–2015 to investigate various aspects of health and well-being including physical activity, diet and sleep, smoking, alcohol and drugs, health feelings and worries, behaviours, attitudes and expectations. LACYP were more likely to report that they had tried drugs, slightly more likely to have scores indicating a high level of difficulties on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and less likely to report that they ate fruit and vegetables, used active transport methods to get to school and expected to go on to further or higher education; however, reported rates of physical activity, smoking and drinking were similar. LACYP were less likely to report that they had engaged in antisocial behaviour, truancy or bullying or been exposed to environmental tobacco smoke, less likely to worry or have low self-esteem, and more likely to rate their health positively. There were some variations according to placement type. The findings of this study present a more positive picture of the health and well-being of LACYP in Glasgow than might have been expected but should be treated with caution due to small sample size. Further research is needed to identify differences in relation to placement type and to determine whether being looked after might be associated with improved health and well-being outcomes for some children and young people.

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