Quality of Life Research

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 969–979 | Cite as

Life satisfaction decreases during adolescence

  • Lutz GoldbeckEmail author
  • Tim G. Schmitz
  • Tanja Besier
  • Peter Herschbach
  • Gerhard Henrich
Original Paper



Adolescence is a developmental phase associated with significant somatic and psychosocial changes. So far there are few studies on developmental aspects of life satisfaction. This cross-sectional study examines the effects of age and gender on adolescent’s life satisfaction.


1,274 German adolescents (aged 11–16 years) participated in a school-based survey study. They completed the adolescent version of the Questions on Life Satisfaction (FLZM - Fragen zur Lebenszufriedenheit), a multidimensional instrument measuring the subjective importance and satisfaction with eight domains of general and eight domains of health-related life satisfaction. Effects of gender and age were analysed using ANOVAs.


Girls reported significantly lower general (F = 5.0; p = .025) and health-related life satisfaction (F = 25.3; p < .001) compared to boys. In both genders and across nearly all life domains, there was a significant decrease in general (F = 14.8; p < .001) and health-related life satisfaction (F = 8.0; p < .001) between 11 and 16 years. Satisfaction with friends remained on a high level, whereas satisfaction with family relations decreased. Only satisfaction with partnership/sexuality increased slightly, however this effect cannot compensate the general loss of satisfaction.


Decreasing life satisfaction has to be considered as a developmental phenomenon. Associations with the increasing prevalence of depression and suicidal ideation during adolescence are discussed. Life satisfaction should be considered a relevant aspect of adolescent’s well-being and functioning.


Adolescence Age effects Gender effects Life satisfaction Quality of life 



Quality of life


Fragen zur Lebenszufriedenheit (Questions on Life Satisfaction)



We thank the Bavarian School Ministry for the opportunity to collect our data, the teachers for their support, and all the participating students for their cooperation. All authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lutz Goldbeck
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tim G. Schmitz
    • 2
  • Tanja Besier
    • 1
  • Peter Herschbach
    • 3
  • Gerhard Henrich
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/PsychotherapyUniversity Hospital UlmUlmGermany
  2. 2.Pediatric Rehabilitation Clinic Santa MariaOberjochGermany
  3. 3.Department of Psychosomatic MedicineUniversity Hospital of the Technical University MunichMunichGermany

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