The aim was to develop and test a brief revised version of the family affluence scale. A total of 7120 students from Denmark, Greenland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Romania, Scotland and Slovakia reported on a list of 16 potential indicators of affluence. Responses were subject to item screening and test of dimensionality. Bifactor analysis revealed a strong general factor of affluence in all countries, but with additional specific factors in all countries. The specific factors mainly reflected overlapping item content. Item screening was conducted to eliminate items with low discrimination and local dependence, reducing the number of items from sixteen to six: Number of computers, number of cars, own bedroom, holidays abroad, dishwasher, and bathroom. The six-item version was estimated with Samejima’s graded response model, and tested for differential item functioning by country. Three of the six items were invariant across countries, thus anchoring the scale to a common metric across countries. The six-item scale correlated with parental reported income groups in six out of eight countries. Findings support a revision to six items in the family affluence scale.
A critical review of the Family Affluence Scale (FAS) concluded that FAS II was no longer discriminatory within very rich or very poor countries, where a very high or a very low proportion of children were categorised as high FAS or low FAS respectively (Currie et al. 2008). The review concluded that a new version of FAS - FAS III - should be developed to take into account current trends in family consumption patterns across the European region, the US and Canada. In 2012, the FAS Development and Validation Study was conducted in eight countries - Denmark, Greenland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Scotland. This paper describes the Scottish qualitative findings from this study. The Scottish qualitative fieldwork comprising cognitive interviews and focus groups sampled from 11, 13 and 15 year-old participants from 18 of the most- and least- economically deprived schools. These qualitative results were used to inform the final FAS III recommendations.
The primary purposes of this study are twofold: to examine how family, school, and community factors are related to children’s subjective well-being; and to examine the patterns of the relationships between family, school, and community variables and children’s subjective well-being across nations. We use the data from the pilot study of the International Survey of Children’s Well-Being for our analysis. We use multiple regression and multilevel methods in the study. We find that family, school, and community lives all significantly affect the levels of children’s subjective well-being. We also find that family, school, and community lives of children are important predictors of subjective well-being even after controlling for the country-specific cultural and contextual factors. We find that the economic variables of GDP and inequality are not significant factors predicting children’s subjective well-being. Rather it is the nature of children’s relationships with immediate surrounding environments, such as frequency of family activities, frequency of peer activities, and neighborhood safety, are most consistently related to the levels of children’s subjective well-being across the nations.
This paper reflects on the opportunity to take steps in the direction of proposing international systems of subjective social indicators of children’s and adolescents’ well-being. In order to contextualize such a reflection, a brief summary of the historical and epistemological foundations of the concept of social indicators, and of some of the controversies associated with the research results during the first decades of its existence, is made. Such foundations, research results and consequent debates have mostly been developed considering only adult populations, but they are reviewed here to explore research goals in relation to children’s and adolescents’ well-being and to link these goals to political action and decision making and the evaluation of its impact. The lack of internationaly comparable subjective data on children’s and adolescents’ well-being at the macro level may be related, among other things, to the lack of political importance given to the younger population’s point of view and to the lack of consistent or convincing research at a micro-level indicating what data-collection instruments are appropriate for making cross-national or cross-cultural comparisons. However, at present, research on children’s and adolescents’ own points of view about their living conditions—although still in its early stages and very heterogeneous—is already showing rapid advances and even provocative and unexpected results, of which a few examples are given. Tested instruments are already available, but systematic data collection is still scarce, and comparable data to be used for international comparisons is infrequent. Systematic data collection of children’s and adolescents’ perceptions, evaluations and aspirations that can be used as subjective social indicators requires political will, associated with the conviction that such data can be useful for decision-making and for evaluating social change. An increasing international interest in children’s rights to social participation seems to be an opportunity to promote links with research on childrens’ and adolescents’ well-being, both objective and subjective. Having an overall panorama of all these elements may be helpful to guide debates on what research is still needed and on what are the major challenges to be faced when offering research data to policy makers and to the public opinion.
The primary purposes of this study are twofold: to examine how family, school, and community factors are related to children's subjective well-being; and to examine the patterns of the relationships between family, school, and community variables and children's subjective well-being across nations. We use the data from the pilot study of the International Survey of Children's Well-Being for our analysis. We use multiple regression and multilevel methods in the study. We find that family, school, and community lives all significantly affect the levels of children's subjective well-being. We also find that family, school, and community lives of children are important predictors of subjective well-being even after controlling for the country-specific cultural and contextual factors. We find that the economic variables of GDP and inequality are not significant factors predicting children's subjective well-being. Rather it is the nature of children's relationships with immediate surrounding environments, such as frequency of family activities, frequency of peer activities, and neighborhood safety, are most consistently related to the levels of children's subjective well-being across the nations.
The Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) is collected at age 5 as a developmental census once every 3 years across the entire country. The AEDI is the Australian adaptation of the Canadian Early Development Instrument (EDI). The objective of this paper is to determine how well the EDI predicts a child’s later literacy and numeracy outcomes as assessed by the National Assessment Program Literacy And Numeracy (NAPLAN) standardised testing in primary school in Australia. Data integration undertaken by the Department of Education in Western Australia individually linked the first ever population coverage of the Early Development Instrument (EDI) in Australia with the children’s literacy and numeracy assessments at years 3, 5 and 7 (n = 1,823). The EDI predicts children’s literacy and numeracy outcomes throughout their primary school years. The association is equally as strong in predicting scores at years 3, 5 and 7 (ages 8, 10 and 12). A child’s skills, development and attributes at school entry (as measured by the EDI) predict their latter literacy and numeracy skills (as measured by NAPLAN) throughout primary school. This is the first paper to investigate the relationship between the EDI and the national standard school assessments in Australia. The implications are two fold; firstly the results provide confidence in Australia’s use of the AEDI as a national progress measure of human capability formation and secondly it reinforces the importance of having all children entering school with the skills and developmental capacity to take advantage of schooling.
This is a comparison of child well-being in the 27 countries of the European Union and Norway and Iceland. It is based on 43 indicators forming 19 components derived from administrative and survey data around 2006. It covers seven domains: health, subjective well-being, personal relationships, material resources, education, behaviour and risks, housing and the environment. Comparisons are made of countries performance on each of the domains and components. Overall child well-being is highest in the Netherlands which is also the only country to perform in the top third of countries across all domains. Child well-being is worst in the former Eastern bloc countries with the exception of Slovenia. Lithuania performs in the bottom third on all domains. The United Kingdom does notably badly given its level of national wealth. The index is subjected to sensitivity analysis and analysis is undertaken to explain variations in child well-being. We find that there are positive associations between child well-being and spending on family benefits and services and GDP per capita, a negative association with inequality and no association with the prevalence of 'broken' families.
Does the subjective well-being of children vary between countries? How does it vary? What explains that variation? In the past the subjective well-being of children has been compared at country level using published data derived from comparable international surveys, most commonly the Health Behaviour of School-aged Children survey. The league tables of child well-being produced in this way are fairly consistent. Thus for example the Netherlands consistently comes top of the rankings of OECD countries. Why is this? How does the Netherlands achieve this? In seeking to explain these national rankings we tend to explore associations with other national league tables. Thus in the UNICEF Report Card 11 (RC11), country ranking on subjective well-being were compared with country rankings on more objective domains of well-being—material, health, education, housing and so on, all at a country level. In this paper we explore international variations in subjective well-being using individual level data from the HBSC 2009–10 survey. We use similar indicators of subjective well-being as were used in RC11. We establish that the components form a reliable index. The ranking of countries is very similar to that obtained at a country level. We also explore the distribution of subjective well-being. We then control for a number of factors associated with variations in subjective well-being at an individual level and, using linear regression with a country fixed effects model, establish whether national differences in subjective well-being are still sustained having taken into account these independent factors. There are some changes in the ranking of countries having taken account of, particularly, behavioural indicators such as bullying. A multilevel model, taking into account country and school level effects, shows that that the effects of child characteristics on subjective well-being vary across countries.
Positive relationships with family, friends and school staff are consistently linked with health and wellbeing during adolescence, though fewer studies explore how these micro-systems interact to influence adolescent health. This study tests the independent and interacting roles of family, peer and school relationships in predicting substance use, subjective wellbeing and mental health symptoms among 11–16 year olds in Wales. It presents cross-sectional analyses of the 2013 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children survey, completed by 9055 young people aged 11–16 years. Multilevel logistic regression analyses are used to test associations of family communication, family support, relationships with school staff, school peer connectedness, and support from friends, with tobacco use, cannabis use, alcohol use, subjective wellbeing and mental health symptoms. Positive relationships with family and school staff were consistently associated with better outcomes. Support from friends was associated with higher use of all substances, while higher school peer connectedness was associated with better subjective wellbeing and mental health. Better relationships with school staff were most strongly associated with positive subjective wellbeing, and fewer mental health symptoms where pupils reported less family support. Support from friends was associated with higher cannabis use and worse mental health among pupils with lower family support. Relationships with family and school staff may be important in protecting young people against substance use, and improving wellbeing and mental health. Interventions focused on student-staff relationships may be important for young people with less family support. Interventions based on peer support should be mindful of potential harmful effects for pupils with less support from family.
Relatively few studies have examined the mediating role of basic psychological needs in the relationship between parenting and psychological outcomes using a Self-Determination Theory (SDT) framework. This study aimed to examine the role of need satisfaction and need frustration as mediators of the association between parental psychological control, autonomy support and psychological outcomes. In a sample of 302 late adolescents, we found that parental psychological control was positively associated with feelings of need frustration and depression, whilst the concept of parental autonomy support was positively associated with feelings of need satisfaction and vitality. In turn, need satisfaction promoted feelings of vitality, whereas need frustration led to feelings of depression. Satisfaction of needs was a full mediator of the relationship between autonomy support and vitality, while frustration of needs was a full mediator of the relationship between psychological control and depression. These findings are discussed in terms of SDT. We also discuss how future research may further increase our understanding of the dynamics involved in psychological control, autonomy support and psychological outcomes.
To date, most cross-country comparisons of children's subjective well-being have been conducted using single-item scales. Despite multi-item scales being more powerful for this purpose, they have seldom been tested on children when comparing results among more than 4 countries. Moreover, with very few exceptions, international comparisons have mostly been carried out using samples of children aged 12 or over and it is therefore uncertain how the scales available might work among younger populations, even if some scales have been tested in a few countries. We tested 3 psychometric scales on a sample of over 34,000 children from 15 countries aged mostly 10 and 12: the SLSS, the BMSLSS and the PWI-SC. We used the pooled database to identify models with a good fit by means of Confirmatory Factor Analysis, providing construct validity for each of the three scales for this set of countries. The comparability of the scales among countries was tested using Multi-group Confirmatory Factor Analysis to assess to what extent it is valid to make cross-national comparisons. Our results suggest that it is acceptable to compare correlations and regressions between most of the countries in our survey using each of these measures, with only a few exceptions. Some of the models using the specific modified SLSS version adopted in this research displayed promising results due to the fact that their correlations and regressions appeared to be comparable among all countries in the sample. However, mean scores for the overall indexes are only comparable among countries in some cases using partial intercept constraints. Two Multi-group Structural Equation Models including the three correlated multi-item psychometric scales plus two single-item scales (Overall Life Satisfaction and Overall Happiness Scale) displayed good fit indexes with constrained loadings for all countries, both for the 10 and 12-year-old samples. This result suggests that subjective well-being comparability increases among countries when using the five psychometric scales all together. With semi-partial constrained loadings and intercepts, fit statistics suggest that the means of this overall model can cautiously be compared among all countries: comparable items and not strictly comparable items were identified. Correlations among the psychometric scales and regressions of the multiple-item scales on the single-item scales clearly show different patterns among countries and variations according to age group, suggesting a high diversity of interrelations among these measures depending on age and different language and socio-cultural contexts.
Research on child well-being is an expanding international, inter- and trans-disciplinary field of research that has developed significantly within the last decades. While the achievements in the field are immense, the developments raise new challenges for the child well-being research field. In this paper three major challenges will be highlighted and discussed: Firstly, challenges regarding how to define well-being theoretically, secondly; challenges associated with integrating children's perspectives in research; and thirdly, challenges of engaging with processes of globalisation and trans-national contexts which impact on children's well-being and how we engage with these processes as researchers. We then outline a comparative qualitative study Children's understandings of well-being - global and local contexts that attempts to respond to these challenges: by starting with children's constructions of well-being as a basis for analysing the normativity of constructions of well-being; by explicitly accounting for the context in which these constructions are developed -embedding children's perspectives within the social orders they are part of and contribute to; and by empirically analysing the relevance of multi-scalar contexts as social constructions for children's understandings and experiences of well-being.
The effort to measure and monitor children’s well-being and the use of child well-being indicators is not new. However, recent years have brought new and growing attention to the field, and some argue, the revival of the children’s social indicators movement. Much of this new activity can be traced back to the 1960s social indicators movement and be accounted for by UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children annual report, as well as other international and national initiatives and projects. The United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child, through its global ratification and its reporting and monitoring mechanism, has also played a major role in increasing interest in the field. This paper presents the history and development of the field, identifies current trends, and predicts where the field is headed.
A critical aspect in the creation of child-friendly cities (CFC's) is the consideration of the natural environment. Premised on a child participatory perspective, the current study explored children's constructions and the meanings they attached to natural spaces and the impact on their subjective well-being. A qualitative methodological framework was employed using four focus group interviews with 32 children between the ages of 13 and 14years. The study was conducted in a low socio-economic status community on the Cape Flats in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Within the thematic domain of CFC's three key themes emerged from the data, namely Child and Environmentally friendly neighbourhoods, Environmentally friendly spaces and places for children, and Environmental awareness in the school curriculum. It was found that children consider nature as crucial in the creation of a CFC. Further, the participants revealed that their community is not child friendly, and suggested the need for the participation of children on matters which affect their lives. With natural spaces specified as children's favourite places in this study, and the manifest advantages of children's engagement therein, it is crucial to harness children's access to safe natural spaces in their communities.
Different single-item and multiple-item scales are used as subjective indicators of well-being in the international arena. However, very few cross-cultural studies exist into subjective indicators of well-being among adolescent populations. In this study, three different multi-item scales, variations of these scales and several single items –all of them previously used separately in international research- were tested together on 12 to 16-year-old adolescents in 4 different countries with Latin-based languages (Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Spain). The scales are the PWI (Cummins, Eckersley, van Pallant, Vugt, Misajon, et al., Social Indicators Research, 64, 159–190, 2003), SWLS (Diener, Emmons, Larsen & Smith, Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71–75, 1985) and BMSLSS (Seligson, Huebner & Valois, Social Indicators Research, 61, 121–145, 2003). The single-item scales explored are: one on overall life satisfaction (OLS), one on happiness with overall life (HOL), Fordyce’s single-item scale, two items from Russell’s scale (2003) on core affects (CAS), one on happiness and another on satisfaction and the optional item 6 of the BMSLSS. The performance of these scales is analyzed by taking into account overall scores from the pooled sample and scores in each country. Special attention has been paid to any trends in scores for each subjective well-being measure across age, as up until now diverse results have been obtained in different countries when using different instruments. In order to contribute to the debate on happiness versus satisfaction with life specifically in adolescents’ populations, multi-group structural equation models with factor invariance constraints have been used to model together the PWI, SWLS and BMSLSS in Brazil, Chile and Spain, with Argentina excluded due to the sample size being too small. The HOL, OLS and age were used as predictors of the three scales. The strongest relationships were between the BMSLSS and the HOL, the SWLS and the OLS, and between the PWI and the OLS. Age showed low but significant negative correlations with all three scales. A second order factor analysis model has also been tested, with some limitations. Results show directions for future exploration of a second order latent variable related to the 3 multiple-item scales, which would represent the “macro-construct” of positive life suggested by some authors. The interest in using these scales and items for cross-country comparison is discussed.
The potential to make cross-national comparisons is an important aspect of the growing global interest in subjective well-being. Such comparisons offer the prospect of understanding variations in levels of well-being and the factors contributing to it which can be useful for practical and policy initiatives to improve the lives of the population. However, relatively little is known about the extent to which such comparisons are reliable and valid, particularly in relation to children’s well-being. We make use of a large-scale pilot survey undertaken in 11 countries with over 16,000 children around the age of 12 to explore this issue. We examine four different multi-item measures of children’s subjective well-being, three of which have previously been proposed in the literature. We use multi-group confirmatory factor analysis to assess the extent to which it is valid to make cross-national comparisons using these measures. Overall, our results suggest that it should be possible to compare correlations and regressions between most of the countries in our survey using each of these measures. However, cross-national comparisons of mean scores on the measures is generally not supported by our analysis.
There has been growing research interest into child poverty and child well-being in Asia. However the development of qualitative and quantitative data in the field predominately adopts ‘expert-led’ or adult-derived measures of child poverty. This article aims to explore variations in children’s overall life satisfaction by their socio-demographic characteristics and social relationships in Hong Kong. Data used in this article is drawn from the first wave of the Strategic Public Policy Research (SPPR) project– ‘Trends and Implications of Poverty and Social Disadvantages in Hong Kong: A Multi-disciplinary and Longitudinal Study’. This article reports, for the first time evidence based on a child-derived material deprivation index - thereby addressing the limitations in traditional adult-derived child poverty measures. The study found that child deprivation explained more of the variation in children’s overall life satisfaction than traditional adult-reported income poverty. Further analyses showed that children’s perceived positive relationships with family and teachers, perceived strong social support from family, and experience of being bullied were associated with their life satisfaction.
Scholars have shown the link between trait emotional intelligence (EI) and psychological health in adults, as well as in children, together with a strong association of the construct with expression of emotions, which may be well represented by children’s drawings. This work focuses on the effects of trait EI on Koppitz’s emotional indicators in the Draw-a-Person (DAP) test, a projective drawing task that is often used in psychological assessments of children to develop hypotheses about the subject’s cognitive, developmental, and emotional functioning, as well as personality style. Given the link between a child’s graphic activity and the expression of emotions, we assume that trait EI can be a reliable predictor of emotional expression revealed by the DAP test, over and above personality traits. A self-report form to assess trait EI, a personality questionnaire, and the DAP test were administered to a sample of 82 Italian children (51.2% females; Mage = 8.11; SD = 0.35). Data from hierarchical regression analysis suggest a predictive significant effect of trait EI on emotional indicators in children’s drawings (β = .36, p < .05). Future investigations should replicate these results in larger samples and in cross-cultural settings. Notwithstanding these limitations, this work may provide a springboard for developing new lines of research on the influence of trait EI on children’s drawings, considering the internal representation related to emotional expression to be paramount. Moreover, our results may have practical implications, particularly with respect to programs and policies addressing the prevention of emotional distress in children.
The purpose of this study is to further assess the international relevance of an ecological, relationship-based model of children’s subjective well-being with samples of 10-year-old children from the United States (n = 502, M age = 10.66, SD = .55) and 10 other countries: Algeria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Israel, Nepal, Romania, Rwanda, South Korea, and Uganda (n = 502, M age = 10.12, SD = .48). All children completed the Children’s Worlds survey, which includes individual factors, contextual factors of home and family, life and neighborhood, school, and peers, and subjective well-being measures for life satisfaction, mental health, and self-image. The strongest predictors of children’s subjective well-being were family and peer relationships, school, and neighborhood quality. Findings support the international relevance of an ecological, relationship-based model of children’s subjective well-being.
To analyse sex differences and associations regarding non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) behaviour and their relationship with other health compromising behaviours. Were inquired 3262 Portuguese adolescents as participants in the context of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study/WHO. 20.3% of the adolescents reported at least one NSSI episode. Students from 8th grade had more NSSI than 10th grade students. Concerning sex, girls report more NSSI than boys. The occurrence of NSSI for both sexs is related to alcohol use, being bullied, being a bully, carrying weapons, and safety perception at school. Regarding boys, NSSI is also related to physical activity (PA), drugs use and school grade. For both sexs, being bullied, being a bully and carrying weapons had a positive association with the NSSI occurrence. For girls, also alcohol use had a positive association with the NSSI occurrence. Safety perception at school was negatively associated with the NSSI occurrence in girls. Regarding the 8th and 10th grade students’ being bullied and carrying weapons had a positive association with the NSSI occurrence. For the 8th grade students’ alcohol use and being a bully had also a positive association with the NSSI occurrence. Safety perception at school had a negative association with the NSSI occurrence for the 8th grade students. Specific strategies that address the NSSI occurrence in adolescents are needed for Portuguese adolescents and those needs presented age (grade) and sex specificities. Public policies must take these specificities on board while designing and implementing preventive interventions with families, in the school and in the community in order to promote a safer environment at school and adolescents’ positive development. These interventions will help adolescents to better self-regulate, seek social support, make better choices and to maintain a healthy lifestyle.