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02nd May 2024

Irish children’s ‘happiness level’ has dropped 14% in four years

Sophie Collins


“Between 2018 and 2022 we’ve seen a decrease in self-reported happiness” in children

A new report has claimed that Irish children are not as happy as they once were.

The study involving more than 9,000 children across Ireland was carried out by the University of Galway and its results are now raising concern.

It showed that younger children and those from less affluent families are more likely to be vulnerable.

Senior Researcher, Aoife Gavin, from the Health Promotion Research Centre said older teenage girls are the least likely to be happy.

“Between 2018 and 2022 we’ve seen a decrease in self-reported happiness – this is where kids are asked to report on how happy they feel about their lives at present.

“In 2018 it would have been 42% of 10 to 17-year-olds and that’s fallen to 28%.

“It’s even lower when we look at the gender differences: 22% of girls compared to 33% of boys”.

Ms Gavin said there has been a concerning change around sexual behaviour and the results show more teenagers are reportedly having sex without contraception.

“One in four 15 to 17-year-olds are reporting that they’ve ever had sex – this remains unchanged from 2018,” she said.

“However of concern what we are seeing is a decrease in reported condom use among the 15 to 17-year-olds.

“Alongside that [there is] an increase in young people reporting using no contraception the last time that they’ve had sex,” she added.

You can read the full report, the Irish Health Behaviour in School Children (HBSC) Study, here.