Quality of Life Research

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 969–979

Life satisfaction decreases during adolescence

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

DOI: 10.1007/s11136-007-9205-5

Cite this article as:
Goldbeck, L., Schmitz, T.G., Besier, T. et al. Qual Life Res (2007) 16: 969. doi:10.1007/s11136-007-9205-5

Abstract

Objective

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.

Methods

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.

Results

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.

Conclusions

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.

Keywords

Adolescence Age effects Gender effects Life satisfaction Quality of life 

Abbreviations

QOL

Quality of life

FLZM

Fragen zur Lebenszufriedenheit (Questions on Life Satisfaction)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lutz Goldbeck
    • 1
  • 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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