Health Education Population Survey, 1996-2007

Organisation responsible: The Health Education Population Survey (HEPS) was commissioned and project managed by NHS Health Scotland and carried out by BMRB Social Research. It ran from 1996 to 2007 and was replaced by the Knowledge, Attitudes and Motivations (KAM) module in the Scottish Health Survey, which ran from 2008-11. For more information on the KAM module, go to the Scottish Health Survey page on ScotPHO.

Note that the KAM module will not be extended to future surveys due to restricted budgets, low response rate and the fact that there has been little change in behaviour over the combined HEPS and KAM time series (1996-present) despite improvements in knowledge, attitudes and motivations, thus calling into question the model that the survey is based upon (Prochaska and DeClemente's Transtheoretical Model of Behaviour Change). The final KAM report was published in April 2013.

Background and purpose: The HEPS monitored health-related knowledge, attitudes, behaviours and motivations to change among the adult population of Scotland. Questions covered a range of priority topic areas. The data were used to monitor the success of health education, information and communications activity and contributed towards the planning and development of health improvement initiatives.

Survey years / frequency: Fieldwork was undertaken in two waves each year, usually March and September although the 2006 and 2007 spring waves were brought forward to January in order to evaluate the national smoking ban. The survey was suspended for three waves during 1999-2000. Thus the 1999 estimates were based upon a sample size half of that usually obtained and there were no estimates for the year 2000.

Survey content: The survey included questions on health-related knowledge, attitudes, motivation, behaviour and health status over a range of topics: attitudes towards own health, physical activity, diet, smoking, alcohol, mental health, oral health, drug use and sexual health.

Target population: Adults aged 16 to 74 years living in mainland Scotland.

Sample size: Each annual survey had an achieved sample of approximately 1,800 people.

Response rate: A minimum response rate of 70% was achieved in all years of the survey, except 2006 when it dropped slightly to 68%.

Method of data collection: The survey was administered using Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) and included a self-completion section for more sensitive information such as mental health, sexual health and drug use.

Smallest geographical unit reported: Scotland.

Availability of results and further information: Annual reports summarising results from the survey (1996 to 2007) are available from the HEPS page on the NHS Health Scotland website. The HEPS datasets are available from the UK Data Archive.