Exploring Low Subjective Well-Being Among Children Aged 11 in the UK: an Analysis Using Data Reported by Parents and by Children

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Abstract If we cannot explain the factors that affect the subjective well-being of children we cannot know what to do to improve it. Comparative studies have found that children in some countries have higher mean levels of subjective wellbeing than children in other countries. But studies of variations in subjective wellbeing of children within countries, based on school based surveys of children, have failed to explain much of the variation in subjective well-being observed. This may be because such surveys can only collect limited data on their household and school from the child. Wave 5 of the UK Millennium Cohort Survey (11-year olds) presents a new opportunity to understand the factors affecting children’s subjective well-being making use of information gathered from parents as well as children. This article aims to identify factors which can predict the likelihood of children having low subjective well-being. The key findings from the analysis are that (a) a wide range of parent-reported variables have some power in predicting low child subjective well-being; (b) in comparison a small selection of child reported
variables have more explanatory power. Factors such as material deprivation,
family financial strain, parental well-being and children’s experience of
being bullied emerge as important in the analysis. The implications for future
research on child subjective well-being are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-56
Number of pages30
JournalChild Indicators Research
Issue number1
Early online date23 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018

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  • Subjective well-being . Child well-being . Life satisfaction . Positive affect . Negative affect . Happiness. Sadne

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