Background and purpose
The SHoT Study (an acronym for the Norwegian name: Studentenes Helse- og Trivselsundersøkelse) is a national student survey for higher education in Norway. So far, three health surveys of the student population in Norway have been completed (2010, 2014 and 2018). Both the size and scope of the SHoT studies have expanded over time, and now includes detailed information on mental and physical health, quality of life, health-related behaviours, demographics and more specific study-related information. The background for the first survey was that there existed limited data on these topics in the student population. Although some data had been collected locally at campuses from small surveys before 2010, no systematic surveys had been conducted yielding more comprehensive knowledge. The three largest student welfare associations in Norway (SiO, Sammen and Sit) are the owners and initiators of the SHoT studies. They assembled to set up a national survey with the ambition to build a representative knowledge base on student health. SHoT is conducted at 4 years' intervals, and the next surveys will be in 2022, 2026 etc.
The SHoT2018 Study
The SHoT2018 study was a joint effort between the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) and all student welfare organizations in Norway. The study was conducted between February 6 and April 5, 2018 on all fulltime Norwegian students taking higher education (both in Norway and abroad). The collection of the health survey was in close collaboration with all the student welfare organizations in the Norway, and most institutions allocated 45 minutes in student classes allowing for sufficient time for the students to complete the set of questionnaires. The survey data was collected electronically through a web-based platform. In all 162,512 students fulfilled the inclusion criteria, of whom 50,055 students completed the online questionnaires, yielding a response rate of 31%.
The SHoT2014 Study
The SHoT2014 study was a collaboration between the 10 largest student welfare organizations in Norway (Oslo, Bergen, and Trondheim), targeting full-time Norwegian students <35 years of age. Data for the SHoT study were collected using an Internet platform in the period from 24 February 2014 to 27 March 2014. An invitation email containing a link to an anonymous online questionnaire was sent to 47,514 randomly selected students and stratified by study institutions, faculties, and departments. The overall response rate was 28.5% and included all 13,525 students with valid response on the sleep questionnaire.
The SHoT-studies have been completed at 4-year intervals, and future survey are planned scheduled for 2022 and 2026.
The SHoT2010 Study
The SHoT2010 was conducted by TNS Gallup on behalf of the student societies in Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim, and with additional participation from Stavanger, Oppland, Telemark and Finnmark. The data collection Internet-based and was conducted during the period October 11 to November 8, 2010. The target group was Norwegian full-time students <35 years of age. A total of 6053 students completed the survey, yielding a response rate of 23 %. At the time, this was the most comprehensive survey conducted on students' health and well-being in Norway.
The first two studies (SHoT2010 and SHoT2014) were anonymous, but the SHoT 2018 also collected the participants’ unique Norwegian 11-digit personal identification number. This allows data from SHoT participants to be linked to several national health registers.
What has it found using SHoT data?
The main results from the SHoT2010 and SHoT2014 were published in two comprehensive Norwegian reports. Also, the interactive website studenthelse.no was launched in January 2018, showing some key findings from SHoT2014.
Strengths and weaknesses?
An obvious strength is the large sample size, especially for the SHoT2018, which allows studies of low frequent conditions/variables. Also, for the SHoT2018 linkage to health registries is possible, and since these registries are mandatory, we avoid the loss to follow-up selection bias. A notable weakness is the relatively modest response rate for all three studies.
Access to SHoT-data
The SHoT dataset is administrated by the NIPH, and qualified researchers or research groups in Norway and abroad can apply for access to data. Approval from a Norwegian regional committee for medical and health research ethics is a pre-requirement. Guidelines for access to SHoT data are found at Access to data.
Enquiries can be sent to email@example.com.