A Ecological Model of Well-Being in Child Welfare Referred Children
- 298 Downloads
Despite its social, political and economic relevance, child well-being remains a challenging construct to define and measure accurately. This holds true especially for children growing up in at-risk families, where their development is hindered by many adverse circumstances. Typically, the well-being of child welfare (CW) referred children has been conceptualized as the absence of negative outcomes, and the study of its determinants has been limited to children’s micro-systems. In this study, we aimed to obtain a suitable indicator of child well-being and to test a model of the determinants of CW referred children’s well-being including parental, family and wider contextual variables. The sample included 249 parents and 46 case managers from Portuguese and Spanish CW services. A three-domain solution from selected items of the Child Well-Being Scales (Physical, Academic and Socioemotional) was tested and confirmed through Confirmatory Factor Analysis. The results of structural equation modeling for each domain revealed that risk factors nested in the wider context and those related to material disadvantage were the most powerful predictors of physical well-being, while parenting and family functioning variables predicted better both academic and socio-emotional well-being. Our findings suggest that different risk and protective factors matter for different outcomes and that most of these factors are associated with each other. Therefore, interventions with at-risk children must take this specificity into account when targeting each domain of well-being, and efforts could be allocated to a few modifiable dimensions, which would in turn positively affect other parental and family factors.
KeywordsChild well-being Well-being indicadors At-risk families Poverty Child welfare services
This study was funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT; Grant SFRH/BD/86172/2012) with co-financing of the European Social Fund (POPH/FSE), the Portuguese Ministry of Education and Science (MEC) through national funds. The study was also partially supported by project UID/SOC/04020/2013.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Abidin, R. R. (1995). Parenting stress index. Professional manual (3rd ed.). Lutz, FL: Psychological Assessment Resource.Google Scholar
- Barnes, H. L., & Olson, D. H. (1982). Parent-adolescent Communication Scale. In D. H. Olson, H. I. McCubbin, H. Barnes, A. Larsen, M. Muxen, & M. Wilson (Eds.), Family inventories: Inventories used in a national survey of families across the family life cycle (pp. 51–63). St. Paul, MN: University of Minessota.Google Scholar
- Barrera, M. (1980). A method for the assessment of social support networks in community survey research. Connections, 3(3), 8–13.Google Scholar
- Bentler, P., & Wu, E. (2008). EQS for windows user’s guide. Encino, CA: Multivariate Software Inc.Google Scholar
- Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Brooks-Gunn, J., Duncan, G. J., & Maritato, N. (1997). Poor families, poor outcomes: The well-being of children and youth. In G. J. Duncan & J. Brooks-Gunn (Eds.), Consequences of growing up poor (pp. 1–17). New York, NY: Russel Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
- Byrne, S. (2006). Structural equation modeling with EQS: Basic concepts, applications, and programming. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- Cochran, M., & Niego, S. (2002). Parenting and social networks. In M. H. Bornstein (Ed.), Handbook of parenting (2nd ed., Vol. 4, pp. 123–148). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- Crnic, K. A., & Low, C. (2002). Everyday stresses and parenting. In M. H. Bornstein (Ed.), Handbook of parenting (2nd ed., Vol. 5, pp. 243–267). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- Deater-Deckard, K. (1998). Parenting stress and child adjustment: Some old hypotheses and new questions. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 5, 314–332.Google Scholar
- Garbarino, J., Vorrasi, J. A., & Kostelny, K. (2002). Parenting and public policy. In M. H. Bornstein (Ed.), Handbook of parenting (2nd ed., Vol. 5, pp. 487–507). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Goodman, S. H. (2007). Depression in mothers. In S. Nolen-Hoeksema, T. D. Cannon, & T. Widiger (Eds.), Annual review of clinical psychology (Vol. 3, pp. 107–135). Palo Alto, CA: Annual Reviews.Google Scholar
- Goossens, L. (2006). Emotion, affect, and loneliness in adolescence. In S. Jackson & L. Goossens (Eds.), Handbook of adolescent development (pp. 51–70). Padstow, Cornwall: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
- Jones, E., Gutman, L., & Platt, L. (2013). Family stressors and children’s outcomes. Childhood Wellbeing Research Centre research report, DFE-RR254. London, UK. Retrieved from https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/219639/DFE-RR254.pdf.
- Magura, S., & Moses, B. S. (1986). Outcome measures for child welfare services: Theory and applications. Washington, DC: Child Welfare League of America.Google Scholar
- McLoyd, V. C., Aikens, N. L., & Burton, L. M. (2006). Childhood poverty, policy, and practice. In W. Damon & R. M. Lerner (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology (6th ed., Vol. 4, pp. 700–775). New York, NY: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Mínguez, A. M. (2016). The role of family policy in explaining the international variation in child subjective well-being. Social Indicators Research. Advance online publication.Google Scholar
- Shaffer, A., Egeland, B., & Wang, K. (2010). Risk and resilience among children referred to the Child Welfare System. A longitudinal investigation of child well-being in multiple domains. In M. B. Webb, K. Dowd, B. J. Harden, J. Landsverk, & M. F. Testa (Eds.), Child welfare and child well-being: New perspectives from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being (pp. 83–106). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Sheras, P. L., Abidin, R. R., & Konold, T. R. (1998). Stress index for parents of adolescents: Professional manual. Lutz, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.Google Scholar
- Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2007). Using multivariate statistics (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.Google Scholar