Growing Up in Ireland today publishes a new report on the lives of 13-year-olds and how they are faring in important areas of their lives. It also considers how their lives have changed since the children were 9 years of age. The report is being launched by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, TD, at an event held in the ESRI.
Thirteen years of age is an important time of transition and change for young people as they undergo many emotional and physical changes in their lives and also make the transition from primary to second-level schools. This report will help to inform policymakers and others involved in providing services for 13-year-olds on how they are faring and how best to assist and support them as they enter their teenage years.
The report is based on interviews completed with over 7,400 young people and their families when the children were 13 years old in 2012 and when they were 9 years old in 2007/08.
Most 13-year-olds were in good physical health but there is evidence of health inequalities
Weight issues established in early childhood can be difficult to reverse
A child’s early experiences of school have a lasting effect
School performance at 13 years was strongly related to family background and to performance at age 9
Most 13-year-olds lived in two-parent families and parent-child relationships are good
13-year-olds from one-parent families and from lower-educational backgrounds had poorer socio-emotional wellbeing
Friendship and bullying
Levels of smoking, drinking and drug-taking were highest among socially disadvantaged groups
Speaking at today’s launch of the report Professor James Williams from the ESRI said:
This report highlights some of the key issues relating to this important time in a young person’s life, as they face into the many challenges posed by their teenage years. It also underlines the invaluable input which the Growing Up in Ireland project can make to developing policies and interventions to support all young people growing up in modern Ireland. The report highlights significant inequalities in certain aspects of children’s lives. Children from more socially disadvantaged backgrounds are at higher risk of poorer outcomes in terms of their physical health; their education and schooling; and their emotional and behavioural well-being.
Speaking at today’s event, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, TD, said:
I welcome this new report from Growing Up in Ireland, the national longitudinal study funded mainly by my Department. The report provides important insights into the lives of 13-year-olds in Ireland. In many respects most children are doing well across key areas of their lives relating to health, education, family and general well-being. But the report also highlights some difficulties, and important differences related to family background, with some children from more socially disadvantaged backgrounds doing less well in a number of respects.
The report serves to remind us how developmental trends evident at 13 are often evident earlier in childhood and can be difficult to reverse. This new data is invaluable and it reinforces our efforts to intervene well and to intervene early – so that we can ensure positive outcomes for all children.
The ESRI works towards a national vision of ‘Informed policy for a better Ireland’. This means producing high-quality analysis to provide robust evidence for policymaking, with the goals of research excellence and policy impact.
The ESRI produces research that contributes to understanding economic and social change in the new international context and that informs public policymaking and civil society in Ireland.