Testing the Relationship Between Parents’ and Their Children’s Subjective Well-Being
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Casas et al. (J Happiness Stud 9(2):197–205, 2008) found no significant relationship between paired answers given by parents and their 12–16-year-old children (N = 266) for a single-item scale on overall life satisfaction (OLS). However, a significant, but low (.19) parent–child relationship did appear for the PWI multi-item scale. Overall, children reported higher subjective well being than parents. In this article, we present the results obtained from confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), using more scales and a bigger sample (N = 1,250) of paired parents and children. The study uses three multiple-item scales: the PWI, the SWLS and the BMSLSS, and six single-item scales: the OLS, two items from Russell’s scale on core affects, one on overall happiness, Fordyce’s happiness item and the optional item of the BMSLSS on overall life satisfaction. Separate CFA for each of the 3 multi-item scales showed good fit statistics. In order to check comparability between parents and children, we tested equal loading and intercept constraints. The models with restricted loadings fit only for the PWI and BMSLSS, but none of the models with restricted intercepts fit. Therefore, it was only possible to estimate two factor correlations for parents and their children, both very low (.16 for the PWI, .18 for BMSLSS), and it was not possible to compare factor means. When correlating scores from the 6 single-item scales for parents and children, they were all found to be significant but very low. As regards items from the multiple-item scales for parents and children many correlations are positive and significant, although very low, but others are non significant. The means of some items were substantially higher for children than for parents. For some items, differences were minor, non-significant or even reversed. All of the results suggest that parents’ well-being is very weakly related to their own children’s well-being, in spite of socialization, common material welfare and genetic influences. However, one outstanding result is that in our Catalan sample, parents’ well-being seems to have a greater influence on their female child’s well-being than on their male child’s.
KeywordsSubjective well-being Parents Parent–child Adolescents PWI SWLS BMSLSS Happiness Life satisfaction Positive psychology Psychological assessment Subjective indicators CFA Gender
The Spanish research presented here has been funded by the Spanish Government’s Ministry of Science and Education, with reference number SEJ2007-62813/PS.
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