Health risk behaviours of Palestinian youth

Findings from a representative survey

Published in: Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, Volume 24, issue 2 (February 2018), Pages 127-136. doi:10.26719/2018.24.2.127

Posted on on June 19, 2018

by Peter Glick, Umaiyeh Kammash, Mohammed Shaheen, Ryan Andrew Brown, Prodyumna Goutam, Rita T. Karam, Sebastian Linnemayr, Salwa Massad

Read More

Access further information on this document at Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.


There is little systematic information about health risk behaviours among youth in Middle Eastern countries, leaving public health authorities unprepared to deal with emerging public health threats at a time of major social change.


The Palestinian Youth Health Risk study investigates patterns of risk behaviours among Palestinian youth, their perceptions of the risks and benefits of such behaviours, and the relationship of exposure to violence with mental health and engagement in risk behaviours.


We conducted a representative survey among 2500 individuals aged 15–24 years in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, permitting reliable comparison across sex and rural-urban divisions. A stratified 2-stage random sample was drawn from the 2007 population census, with strata formed by crossing the 12 governorates with urban, rural and refugee camp locations. Within strata, 208 survey clusters were sampled with probability proportional to size. Within each cluster, 14 households with youth of the appropriate age were sampled.


Among youth aged 20–24 years, 22.4% of males and 11.6% of females reported trying alcohol; 10.5% of males and 4.3% of females reported trying drugs. Almost one quarter of unmarried youth aged 20–24 years reported any sexual experience. Tobacco use is high, even among younger youth (45.4% of males and 21.2% of females aged 15–19 smoke). Risk behaviours are higher among males, older youth and in urban areas and refugee camps.


While smoking is of particular concern, prevention outreach for all behaviours should be directed at subgroups and areas identified as highest risk.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.