The Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC/WHO) study, carried out in collaboration with the World Health Organization and with the participation of 51 countries, analyses the behaviour and health of adolescents (6th, 8th, and 10th years of schooling) in their life contexts.
The data indicates that the age frequency of the first sexual intercourse has decreased in young people aged 11 or less (13.6% in 2018 and 8.4% in 2022) and in those aged 12/13 (from 23.2% to 20.5%).
In young people aged 14 or over, this frequency increased, going from 63.2% to 71.1%.
The data, which refer to around 6,000 questionnaires, covering more than 450 classes in mainland Portugal, indicate, however, that the majority (84.8%) of adolescents in the 8th and 10th grades have not had sexual intercourse. Of those who mentioned having already had it, 71.1% said they had had their first sexual intercourse at 14 years of age or later.
Regarding sexual behaviours, the use of contraceptive methods decreased: condom use decreased to 64% (66% in 2018) and contraceptive pill use decreased to 31.3% (was 33.8%).
Sexual relations associated with alcohol consumption also dropped, from 17.1% (2018) to 13.4% (2022).
The data also show that 41.3% of the young people surveyed said they do not currently have a romantic relationship and more than one in five (23.5%) consider that the romantic relationship they currently have “is one of the most important things of their lives”.
As for substance use, the frequency of non-smokers increased, from 93.7% in 2018 to 95.1% (2022).
The consumption of different alcoholic beverages has decreased in all types and the results also reveal a reduction in the frequency of alcohol consumption between 20 days or more in the last month (from 9.7% to 6.8%).
However, they show that the frequency of drunkenness increased between 1 and 3 times in the last 30 days, going from 3.9% to 4.2%.
Consumption and experimentation with other substances remained the same or dropped, with the exception of medicines used as drugs, which increased (from 1.6% to 1.9%).
In the field of violence, the results continue to reflect that more young people assume themselves as victims than as provocateurs.
The HBSC/WHO (Health Behavior in School-aged Children) study has been carried out in Portugal since 1998 - internationally since 1983 - and the last one had been applied in 2018, before the covid-19 pandemic.
This investigation, carried out every four years, intends to study the lifestyles of school-age adolescents in areas such as family support, school, physical health, mental health and well-being, sleep, sexuality, food, physical activity, leisure, substance use, violence, and planetary health.