Introduction Earlier studies have found that socioeconomic status is associated with unhealthy behaviours in adolescents. Adolescents own perception of their economic situation and its association with unhealthy behaviours needs further study.
Aim The aim was to find whether adolescents´ self-perceived economic situation was associated with unhealthy behaviors and how strong this possible association would be compared with regularly used socioeconomic indicators.
Methods A postal self-report questionnaire was used for pupils aged 15 and 16 (n =492). The questionnaire assessed economic circumstances (7 different variables) and unhealthy behaviors (meal habits, physical activity, smoking and alcohol consumption) in adolescents and was distributed to 10 geographically spread schools in Sweden. Polychoric correlation and structural equation modelling using LISREL 8.80 was applied for the statistical analysis.
Results Of the seven economic variables, self-perceived economic situation had the strongest association with the unhealthy behaviours included in the study.
Conclusion Adolescents´ own perception of their economic situation is an important factor when it comes to economic circumstances associated with unhealthy behaviours in 15-16 year olds.