Introduction to SALSUS time trends data

The Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS) is part of an important and long-established series of national surveys on smoking, drinking and drug use. The survey is conducted on a biennial basis, targeting secondary school pupils in local authority and independent schools.

The most recent SALSUS survey was undertaken in Autumn 2013 (for local and national output). The 2015 survey is currently in the field (national output only).

The SALSUS datasets from 2002 onwards are available from the UK Data Archive (together with related early studies dating back to 1990). A new Time Trends dataset 1990-2013 is available from mid-December 2015. Entering the term "SALSUS" in the search field should bring up a list of the Scottish survey datasets available. Similar English datasets can be found by using the search term "Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People".

Course content:

This event consisted of two separate parts. The morning session offered a seminar on the SALSUS, including a detailed introduction on the background to the survey, why it is important in policy terms, and the design and methodology of the survey. This was followed by presentations from expert users of the SALSUS, who spoke about how they have used the data to investigate important topics for both policy and theory.

The afternoon session provided a workshop which allowed potential users to find out more about what is in the datasets and gave practical, hands-on analytical experience of using SALSUS datasets. It was not an aim of the course to teach statistical techniques, although several different analytical approaches were demonstrated.

 Course objectives:

  • To provide a detailed introduction to the Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS)
  • To highlight the range of questions included in the survey and identify its analytical potential
  • To provide practical examples of analysing the SALSUS datasets using SPSS and applying a range of different analytical techniques

Topics covered in this course include:

Key information on SALSUS
Datasets and documentation
Survey approach over time
Finding variables of interest
Themes covered by SALSUS trends data
Further information
Data management in SPSS
Practical tips on SPSS set-up
Doing basic analysis via the menus
Weighting variable
Recoding a variable via menus
Some useful SPSS syntax
Six annnotated examples of using the trend data

Seminar Presentations:

Training Presentation:

Watch the seminar via our YouTube channel.

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