A Framework for Child Well-Being in the Gulf Countries

  • Jennifer E. LansfordEmail author
  • Anis Ben Brik
  • Heba Al Fara


This article provides a review of indicators of child well-being in the six Gulf countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates), focusing on well-being in six domains: physical health, behavioral adjustment, psychological well-being, social relationships, safety, and cognitive well-being. The purpose of the review is to provide an overview of how children in the Gulf countries are faring in these six domains in an effort to provide a framework for child well-being in the Gulf countries. Data from the Gulf countries generally are available on the following domains of well-being: Physical health (including infant and under-5 mortality, growth and nutrition, and access to quality health care), some aspects of behavioral adjustment (in particular, smoking, alcohol, and drug use as well as adolescent pregnancy and HIV/AIDs), safety (in terms of laws, although data on the prevalence of abuse and neglect are limited), and cognitive development (including enrollment and performance in school and skills for a knowledge economy, with more limited data available on quality early child care and school readiness). The following domains of well-being have more limited available data in the Gulf countries: Behavioral adjustment (including social competence, prosocial behavior, and externalizing behavior problems), psychological well-being (including subjective well-being of children, mental health, and participation), and social relationships (including positive relationships with parents and other caregivers, peer relationships, and relationships with non-family adults).


Behavioral adjustment Child well-being Gulf countries Physical health Safety Social relationships 



We gratefully acknowledge the support of Ms. Noor Al Malki Al Jehani, Executive Director of Doha International Family Institute (DIFI), a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development and without whose support this research would not have been possible.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer E. Lansford
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anis Ben Brik
    • 2
  • Heba Al Fara
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Child and Family PolicyDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Doha International Family InstituteDohaQatar

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