Young Persons’ Behaviour & Attitudes Survey

A consortium of government departments commission a study on the behaviour and attitudes of young people in post-primary education in Northern Ireland. The Young Persons’ Behaviour and Attitudes Survey (YPBAS) is a school-based survey conducted among 11-16 year-olds.


Six rounds of the survey have now taken place: in Autumn 2000, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013 and most recently in Autumn 2016.



The target population for this survey is young people at different stages in post-primary education.  A random sample of post-primary schools in Northern Ireland is drawn from a list held by the Department of Education (DE). The sample is representative of school size, selection type (i.e. Secondary, Grammar), management group (i.e. Controlled, Voluntary, Roman Catholic Maintained, Grant Maintained Integrated etc) and Education and Library Board area. Participating schools provide details of the number of classes in years 8-12, together with class names. A class in each of the five year groups is then randomly selected to take part. Only pupils from the selected classes are included in the survey.

Data Collection

With earlier rounds of the YPBAS the survey was completed using self completion paper questionnaires. In 2013 the survey was conducted for the first time using laptops and in 2016 it was conducted using tablets. Selected pupils are assembled in class-sized groups to complete the survey. CSU interviewers and staff set up the computers ready for use and remain with the children throughout the data collection period to help with any technical issues. After all classes are surveyed at each school, the data is transferred to CSU for validation and analysis.


Year No. of Schools No. of Pupils
2000 62 6297
2003 74 7223
2007 70 6902
2010 77 7616
2013 75 7076
2016 73 6831


To ensure the achieved sample reflects the composition of the population of pupils in post primary education with regard to key characteristics (i.e. gender, year group and religion) the data is weighted accordingly. Up to date figures from the School Census are used to derive the weights.


The content of the questionnaire is set in consultation with the clients and asks a range of questions about the behaviour and attitudes of young people. Topics in the 2016 questionnaire included:

 Demographics        Care in the Sun
 Long Term Conditions  Sunbeds
 Subject Choices  Tattooing and Piercing
 Next Steps Learning to Drive
 Creative Industries Travelling to School
 Employment Public Transport
 Money Road Safety
 School Careers Advice and Guidance
 Shared Education      University
 Nutrition   Starting a Business
 Sport and Physical Activity  Young Carers
 Play and Leisure   Health and Wellbeing
 Libraries   More About your Health
 Museums and Science Centres  Medicines
 Historical Environment   Smoking
 Arts     Alcohol
 Sign Language    Solvents & Drugs
 Self Efficacy  Personal Safety
 Locus of Control and Wellbeing  Attitudes towards Domestic Violence
 Breastfeeding  Sexual Health
 Organ Donation  More about You

Previous YPBAS questionnaires can be viewed here


Results / Publications

The YPBAS 2016 Top-Line Results (Weighted) and Technical Report can be downloaded here

Further Information


For more information about the Young Persons Behaviour and Attitudes Survey please contact:

Ruth Hewitt          Tel:  028 90 388 432


Central Survey Unit

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