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WRDATF Collaboration & Policy AlcoholThe Planet Youth Model

The Planet Youth Model

The Planet Youth Model

Planet Youth is an international evidence-based primary prevention model, developed by the Icelandic Centre for Social Research and Analysis (ICSRA) at Reykjavik University. It was initially developed in order to reduce substance use rates amongst young people.

The model uses a whole population approach and offers the opportunity to improve health and life outcomes for young people in many areas. It works by directly targeting the risk and protective factors and enhancing the social environment children are growing up in. By reducing the risk factors and strengthening the protective factors problems, such as underage substance use, can be reduced or stopped before they arise.

The three pillars of the model are:
1. Evidence-based practice
2. Using a community-based approach
3. Creating and maintaining a dialogue between research, policy and practice
Risk and Protective Factors

Risk and Protective Factors

Within the Planet Youth approach, the risk and protective factors are defined within four major domains of intervention:
1. Parents and family
2. Leisure time and local community
3. Peer group
4. School

These domains are encompassed by the overall social environment and further influenced by regional and national context and policies.


The model is underpinned by data derived from the administration of the Planet Youth questionnaire. This comprehensive lifestyle questionnaire is administered to 15-16 year olds in the community and it examines a great many aspects of their lives. There are questions on their substance use, health, mental health, physical activity, family and school experience, internet use, bullying etc. There are 73 questions in total in the current Planet Youth questionnaire.

The data from the survey is analysed and presented with the goal of providing each community with the information that will enable them to develop data-driven interventions designed to address selected risk and protective factors. The full dataset from the survey is available to the steering committees for research purposes and for use in designing responses to other issues identified within the data. This is decided upon by each steering committee. The Planet Youth data allows the opportunity to improve the health and wellbeing of young people and to improve the social environment they are growing up in.

Additionally, each school of sufficient size that takes part in the survey is provided with a copy of their own school report that gives an insight into the general health and wellbeing of their pupils, together with some other factors of interest at the school level.

The Planet Youth datasets are archived at the ISSDA data archive at UCD Library and are available there for research and teaching purposes. They have been used for the development of academic papers and are currently being used for the Inform-YSP project. This two-year, HRB-funded, collaborative research project is using the Planet Youth datasets to examine the risk and protective factors related to suicidal ideation and suicidal behaviour in adolescents.


Interventions developed to date, using the Planet Youth data, and as part of the overall undertaking, include:

1. The development and distribution of the Planet Youth Guidelines for Parents booklet and fridge magnet. Around 6,500 of these are distributed annually to all incoming first year parents.
2. The development of the Parent Power booklet and fridge magnet. This was developed in 2021 and 20,000 of the booklets have been distributed to junior infant, senior infant and first-class parents in 440 school in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon. Around 6,500 of these will be distributed annually to all incoming junior infant parents. There is an associated website related to this booklet and it is part of a larger undertaking which aims to introduce classroom-based parental agreements in national schools in the region.
3. The StepUp website was developed to help students and parents with the transition from primary to secondary school.
4. TheFacts SPHE website was developed to bring information from the surveys to support school-based SPHE delivery.
5. Sophisticated individual school reports are generated for each school after each survey.
6. County reports and accompanying social media and video are released after each survey.
7. Supportive parental workshops were arranged during the COVID19 pandemic and parent webinars have been delivered on key topics and key messehges from the survey such as sleep.

Further information on some of this work, and the project in general, is available via the Planet Youth website at www.planetyouth.ie.