1 results for Ameratunga, S.N.

  • A health profile of New Zealand youth who attend secondary school

    Watson, P.D.; Clark, T.C.; Denny, S.J.; Fa'alau, F.; Ameratunga, S.N.; Robinson, E.M.; Schaaf, D.; Crengle, S.M.; Sporle, A.A.; Merry, S.N.; Adair, V.; Dixon, R.S. (2003)

    Journal article
    The University of Auckland Library

    An open access copy of this article is available and complies with the copyright holder/publisher conditions. Aim To determine the prevalence of selected health behaviours and protective factors in a representative population of New Zealand youth who attend secondary school. Methods The study sample comprised 12 934 Year 9 to 13 youth from 133 randomly selected secondary schools across New Zealand in 2001. A cross-sectional, anonymous, self-report survey was conducted, incorporating 523 questions in a multimedia computer assisted self-interview (M-CASI) format. Results The school response rate was 85.7% and the student response rate was 75.0%, resulting in an overall response rate of 64.3%. The final dataset comprised 9570 students (males 46.2%, females 53.8%) belonging to diverse ethnic groups (Maori 24.7%, NZ European 55.3%, Pacific 8.2%, and Asian 7.2%). Most students (males 94.2%, females 90.3%) rate their health as good or better, and 90% report the presence of a caring adult in their family or at school. More than one quarter of students (males 27.2%, females 27.6%) report riding in a car driven by a potentially intoxicated driver within the last four weeks. Students report high levels of suicidal thoughts (males 16.9%, females 29.2%), suicide attempts (males 4.7%, females 10.6%), and depressive symptoms (males 8.9%, females 18.3%). Conclusions This survey finds that most school students are healthy, but there are areas of serious concern including driving behaviours and mental health. Students report a high prevalence of positive connections with family and school; these connections are known sources of resiliency in the lives of young people. Findings of the current study support the implementation of the New Zealand Government’s newly released youth policies: the Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa and the Youth Health Action Plan.

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