Improving the wellbeing of young people

This report highlights associations between health behaviours, other self-rated life factors (such as bullying and body image) and wellbeing | Public Health England

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Young people who stated that they had a disability, long-term illness or medical condition reported lower wellbeing than those who did not.
  4. 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.

Full document: The wellbeing of 15-year-olds: analysis of the What About YOUth? survey

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PHE launches Rise Above for Schools programme

New schools programme to equip young people with coping strategies for modern life | PHE

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Image source: VFS Digital Design – Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Dynamic new resources for teachers will help build crucial life-skills for young people to boost their resilience and improve their mental health and wellbeing, as part of a new evidence-based programme for schools unveiled by Public Health England (PHE).

With around 1 in 5 young people experiencing cyberbullying and 1 in 3 reporting that their body was “too fat”, pupils aged between 11 and 16 will be taught how to cope with some of modern life’s most challenging issues, equipping young people with resilience skills that will help them throughout adulthood.

PHE has developed a series of new resources for secondary school teachers to use in their lesson plans as part of the Rise Above for Schools programme. The resources will help teachers to engage pupils with coping strategies about ‘traditional’ health issues, like smoking and alcohol, while also addressing some of the most challenging pressures young people face today in an ‘always on’ social media generation.

Read the full press release here

Does Access to Green Space Impact the Mental Well-being of Children

An increasing body of research is showing associations between green space and overall health. Children are spending more time indoors while pediatric mental and behavioral health problems are increasing | Journal of Pediatric Nursing

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A systematic review of the literature was done to examine the association between access to green space and the mental well-being of children.

Twelve articles relating to green space and the mental well-being of children were reviewed. Three articles outside the date criteria were included as they are cited often in the literature as important early research on this topic.

Access to green space was associated with improved mental well-being, overall health and cognitive development of children. It promotes attention restoration, memory, competence, supportive social groups, self-discipline, moderates stress, improves behaviors and symptoms of ADHD and was even associated with higher standardized test scores.

Full reference: McCormick, R. (2017) Does Access to Green Space Impact the Mental Well-being of Children: A Systematic Review. Journal of Pediatric Nursing. Published online: 4 September 2017

Local wellbeing indicators

Happy City and What Works Wellbeing, 2017

Happy City and What Works Wellbeing have published Understanding local needs for wellbeing data: measures and indicators. 

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Source: Happy City and What Works Wellbeing

This report presents a new Local Wellbeing Indicator set for local authorities, public health leaders and Health & Wellbeing boards. The indicators use existing data and research to provide a picture of local residents’ lives and community wellbeing. The indicators look at personal relationships, economics, education, childhood equality and health and offer a picture of what affects communities as opposed to traditional metrics.

Buying time promotes happiness

Research suggest that using money to buy time can protect people from the  detrimental effects of time pressure on life satisfaction. | story via OnMedica

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Using money to free-up time rather than spending it on material goods is linked to increased happiness, according to new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In an experiment, psychologists at the University of British Columbia in Canada said that individuals reported greater happiness if they used £30  to save time – such as by paying for household chores to be done – rather than spending the money on books, clothes or wine.

More than 6,000 adults in the US, Canada, Denmark and the Netherlands were asked questions about how much money they spent on buying time. The researchers found that fewer than a third of individuals spent money to buy themselves time each month. Those who did reported greater life satisfaction than the others.

Psychologists say stress over lack of time causes lower wellbeing and contributes to anxiety and insomnia.

Full story at OnMedica

Full reference: Whillans, A. V. et al. Buying time promotes happiness| Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences | 2017 published ahead of print July 24, 2017

Technostress: measuring a new threat to well-being in later life

Galit Nimrod | Technostress: measuring a new threat to well-being in later life
Aging & Mental Health | published online 31st May 2017

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Objectives: Technostress is stress induced by Information and Communication Technology (ICT) use. Research on the topic has focused primarily on the workforce and tended to overlook senior citizens. This study presents the development of a new scale, which was designed to measure technostress specifically among older adults.

Method: The scale explores five constructs: overload, invasion, complexity, privacyand inclusion. The initial 20-item measure was tested in a pilot study and then included in an online survey of 537 Internet users aged 60 years and over.

Results: Based on the statistical analysis, the scale was reduced to 14 items. The constructs had good internal homogeneity, significant inter-construct correlations and high loadings on a single latent factor. The scores were well distributed along the range. Concurrent validity was assessed using the Satisfaction with Life Scale. A significant negative association was found between the two scales – a correlation that remained significant even after controlling for background variables.

Conclusion: The new scale is useful for measuring technostress in older people, and technostress ought to be considered a particular threat to well-being in later life. Future research should explore its antecedents and consequences and identify interventions useful in alleviating its harmful effect on older ICT users.