Subjective Well-Being of Brazilian Children from Different Family Settings

  • Fabiane Friedrich Schütz
  • Lívia Maria Bedin
  • Jorge Castellá Sarriera


Subjective well-being concerns an evaluation of one’s life, considering cognitive and affective aspects. Contextual factors, such as family, may influence this process. One of the main development contexts of children is family and aspects of these relationships, such as different settings, might contribute to children’s subjective well-being. The aim of this study was to compare the well-being of children from different family settings (intact, single-parent, stepfamilies, multigenerational). Participants were 2,135 boys and girls, from 9 to 13 years old (M = 10.97, SD = 0.99), students of public and private schools from a Brazilian southern State. Children answered a questionnaire with sociodemographic variables and three well-being scales (PWI-SC, BMSLSS, GDSI). Children were divided in four groups according to whom they live with (intact, single-parent, stepfamilies, multigenerational families). To evaluate differences between groups a Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) were performed, considering well-being scales as dependent variables and family setting as independent variable. Results indicated significant differences in the well-being of children in relation to their family setting and age. Children from intact families showed significant positive differences on the well-being from children of other settings (the lowest means were from the children of stepfamilies). It is argued that transitions and instability that children are being subjected to may affect their well-being.


Subjective well-being Children Families Comparison 


  1. Amato, P. R. (2000). The consequences of divorce for adults and children. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62(4), 1269–1287. Scholar
  2. Amato, P. R., & Cheadle, J. (2005). The long reach of divorce: divorce and child well-being across three generations. Journal of Marriage and Family, 67(1), 191–206. Scholar
  3. Amato, P. R., & Sobolewski, J. (2001). The effects of divorce and marital discord on adult children’s psychological well-being. American Sociological Review, 66(6), 900–921. Scholar
  4. Attar-Schwartz, S., Tan, J. P., Buchanan, A., Flouri, E., & Griggs, J. (2009). Grandparenting and adolescent adjustment in two-parent biological, lone-parent, and step-families. Journal of Family Psychology, 23(1), 67–75. Scholar
  5. Bedin, L. M., & Sarriera, J. C. (2014). Dyadic analysis of parent-children subjective well-being. Child Indicators Research, 7, 613–631. Scholar
  6. Bedin, L. M., & Sarriera, J. C. (2015a). Propriedades psicométricas das escalas de bem-estar: PWI, SWLS, BMSLSS e CAS. Avaliação Psicológica (Impresso), 13, 213–225.Google Scholar
  7. Bedin, L. M., & Sarriera, J. C. (2015b). A comparative study of the subjective well-being of parents and adolescents considering gender, age and social class. Social Indicators Research, 120, 79–95. Scholar
  8. Benjamin, A., Funk, E., Huebner, S., & Valois, R. F. (2006). Reliability and validity of a brief life satisfaction scale with a high school sample. Journal of Happiness Studies, 7(1), 41–54. Scholar
  9. Bradshaw, J., Keung, A., Rees, G., & Goswami, H. (2011). Children's subjective well- being: international comparative perspectives. Children and Youth Services Review, 33(4), 548–556. Scholar
  10. Casas, F. (2010). El bienestar personal: Su investigación en la infancia y la adolescencia. Encuentros en Psicología Social, 5(1), 85–101.Google Scholar
  11. Casas, F., & Bello, A. (2012). Calidad de vida y bienestar infantil subjetivo en España. Madrid: Unicef.Google Scholar
  12. Casas, F., Sarriera, J., Alfaro, J., González, M., Malo, S., Bertran, I., Figuer, C., Abs, D., Bedin, L., Paradiso, A., Weinreich, K., & Valdenegro, B. (2012a). Testing the personal wellbeing index on 12–16 year-old adolescents in 3 different countries with 2 new items. Social Indicators Research, 105(3), 461–482. Scholar
  13. Casas, F., Coenders, G., González, M., Malo, S., Bertran, I., & Figuer, C. (2012b). Testing the relationship between parents’ and their children’s subjective well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 13(6), 1031–1051. Scholar
  14. Cummins, R. A., & Lau, A. L. D. (2005). Personal wellbeing index – School children (3rd ed.). Melbourne: Australian Centre on Quality of Life, School of Psychology, Deakin University.Google Scholar
  15. Cummins, R. A., Eckersley, R., Pallant, J., Van Vugt, J., & Misajon, R. (2003). Developing a national index of subjective wellbeing: the Australian unity wellbeing index. Social Indicators Research, 64(2), 159–190. doi:
  16. Dessen, M. A., & Braz, M. P. (2005). A família e suas inter-relações com o desenvolvimento humano. In M. A. Dessen & A. L. Costa (Eds.), Jr, (Eds): A ciência do desenvolvimento humano: Tendências atuais e perspectivas futuras (pp. 113–131). Porto Alegre: Artmed.Google Scholar
  17. Diener, E. (2012). New findings and future directions for subjective well-being research. American Psychologist, 67(8), 590–597. Scholar
  18. Diener, E., Suh, E. M., Lucas, R. E., & Smith, H. L. (1999). Subjective well-being: Three decades of progress. Psychological Bulletin, 125(2), 276–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dinisman, Andresen, Montserrat, & Strózik,(2017) Family structure and family relationship from the child well-being perspective: findings from comparative analysis. Children and Youth Services Review, in press. doi:, 80, 105, 115.
  20. Dinisman, T., Montserrat, C., & Casas, F. (2012). The subjective well-being of Spanish adolescents: variations according to different living arrangements. Children and Youth Services Review, 34(12), 2374–2380. Scholar
  21. Dunn, J. & Deater-Deckard, K. (2001). Children’s views of their changing families. York: YPS for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.Google Scholar
  22. Goldbeck, L., Schmitz, T. G., Besier, T., Herschbach, P., & Henrich, G. (2007). Life satisfaction decreases during adolescence. Quality of Life Research, 16(6), 969–979. Scholar
  23. Golombock, S. (2004). Solo mothers: Quality of parenting and child development. International Congress Series, 1266(1), 256–263. Scholar
  24. Gray, R. S., Chamratrithirong, A., Pattaravanich, U., & Prasartkul, P. (2013). Happiness among adolescent students in Thailand: family and non-family factors. Social Indicators Research, 110(2), 703–719. Scholar
  25. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística – IBGE. (2013). Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de Domicílios. Rio de Janeiro: Síntese de Indicadores 2012.Google Scholar
  26. Kelly, J. G. (2006). Becoming ecological: An expedition into community psychology. New York: Oxford Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Klocke, A., Clair, A., & Bradshaw, J. (2013). International variation in child subjective well-being. Child Indicators Research, 7(1), 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lee, B., & Yoo, M. (2015). Family, school, and community correlates of Children’s subjective well-being: An international comparative study. Child Indicators Research, 8(1), 151–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. McAuley, C., McKeown, C., & Merriman, B. (2012). Spending time with family and friends: children’s views on relationships and shared activities. Child Indicators Research, 5(3), 449–467. Scholar
  30. Montserrat, C., Dinisman, T., Baltatescu, S., Grigoras, B. A., & Casas, F. (2015). The effect of critical changes and gender on adolescents’ subjective well-being: Comparisons across 8 countries. Child Indicators Research, 8(1), 111–131. Scholar
  31. Narvaz, M., & Koller, S. H. (2005). A invenção da família. Pensando Famílias, 7, 121–134.Google Scholar
  32. Navarro, D., Montserrat, C., Malo, S., González, M., Casas, F., & Crous, G. (2015). Subjective well-being: what do adolescents say? Child & Family Social Work, 22(1), 175–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Oliveira, D., Siqueira, A., Dell'Aglio, D., & Lopes, R. (2008). Impacto das configurações familiares no desenvolvimento de crianças e adolescentes: Uma Revisão da Produção Científica. Interação em Psicologia, 12(1), 87–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rees, G., Goswami, H., Pople, L., Bradshaw, J., Keung, A., & Main, G. (2012). The good childhood report. England: The Children's Society and University of York.Google Scholar
  35. Seligson, J. L., Huebner, E. S., & Valois, R. F. (2003). Preliminary development and validation of the brief multidimensional students’ life satisfaction scale. Social Indicators Research, 61, 121–145. Scholar
  36. Strelhow, M. R. W., Bueno, C. O., & Câmara, S. G. (2010). Percepção de saúde e satisfação com a vida em adolescentes: diferenças entre os sexos. Revista Psicologia e Saúde, 2(2), 42–49.Google Scholar
  37. Wagner, A., Predebon, J., Mosmann, C., & Verza, F. (2005). Compartilhar Tarefas? Papéis e funções de pai e mãe na família contemporânea. Psicologia: Teoria e Pesquisa, 21(2), 181–186. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature and The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabiane Friedrich Schütz
    • 1
  • Lívia Maria Bedin
    • 1
  • Jorge Castellá Sarriera
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Developmental and Personality PsychologyFederal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)Porto AlegreBrazil

Personalised recommendations