Children’s Subjective Well-Being Measured Using a Composite Index: What Impacts Spanish First-Year Secondary Education Students’ Subjective Well-Being?

Abstract

This paper presents data from a representative Spanish sample of children (N = 5934) in the first year of compulsory secondary education. Data were collected using four different psychometric instruments for measuring adolescents’ self-reported well-being, and a series of questions on children’s objective life situations, and another set of questions that explored respondents’ opinions, perceptions and evaluations. All the items were translated into the four different co-official languages in the different autonomous regions and cities that compose Spain. Three of the psychometric instruments used as indicators of subjective well-being are widely-known and have been used on adolescent populations in different countries; they have also been validated in the Spanish context in previous research. One (the SLSS) was specifically designed for children and adolescents aged 8 to 18. Another (the PWI) was initially designed for adults, but has been used with adolescents in different countries, and previous results suggest it is well understood and performs well with populations aged 12–18. The third well-known instrument used is a single-item scale on overall life satisfaction. The fourth instrument comprises an additional list of items on satisfaction with different aspects or domains in children’s lives. A composite synthetic Index, the GICSWB (General Index of Children’s Subjective Well-Being), was calculated using the values resulting from these psychometric instruments. The results of this Index are presented, showing different situations and perceptions in children’s lives that are related to significantly lower subjective well-being among the children involved when compared to those not involved in the same situations or perceptions.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The results for this question include the entire population that responded to it, regardless of whether they receive pocket money or not: it would therefore seem logical to expect that those who do not receive it are more dissatisfied with it than those who do, and those who receive it express their satisfaction according to the amount they receive. However, while the first expected result is met, satisfaction shows no relation to the amount of pocket money received, but rather is related to the fact of receiving it REGULARLY or not.

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Acknowledgments

Data collection has been supported and developed by UNICEF-Spain. Thanks are due to Gabriel González-Bueno Uribe and to Maria von Bredow, from UNICEF-Spain, and to Irma Bertran, Carme Montserrat and Dolors Navarro for his cooperation in this task; and also to Barney Griffiths for the editing of the English text.

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Correspondence to Ferran Casas.

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Casas, F., Bello, A., González, M. et al. Children’s Subjective Well-Being Measured Using a Composite Index: What Impacts Spanish First-Year Secondary Education Students’ Subjective Well-Being?. Child Ind Res 6, 433–460 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12187-013-9182-x

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Keywords

  • Well-being
  • Children
  • Subjective well-being
  • Adolescents
  • SLSS
  • PWI
  • Life satisfaction
  • Indicators
  • Composite index