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Do Intelligence, Intensity of Felt Emotions and Emotional Regulation Have an Impact on Life Satisfaction? A Quali-quantitative Study on Subjective Wellbeing with Italian Children Aged 8–11

Abstract

According to the hedonic perspective of Positive Psychology and based on children’s literature, the aim of the present study is twofold: to investigate the factors which could elicit a sense of wellbeing in children; to assess the impact of personal factors (non-verbal intelligence, positive/negative emotions and regulation of positive/negative emotions) on children’s satisfaction in life. The participants were 132 Italian children between the ages of 8 and 11. Content analysis and quantitative analysis were conducted. Analysis of word associations revealed that the term wellbeing was associated with family, school, friendship, sports, the emotion of happiness, enjoyment, company, relaxation and feeling loved and protected. Analysis of specific typical associations revealed that females were more likely to describe wellbeing in socio-emotional terms (love/feeling safe) and boys in terms of play. Furthermore, the regression analyses showed that intensity of felt emotions had an impact on life satisfaction, while capacity to regulate emotions and non-verbal intelligence did not. It also pointed out the gender differences in subjective wellbeing: in boys the intensity of positive emotions triggered satisfaction with self; while in girls, the level of life satisfaction was explained both by high intensity of positive emotions and by low intensity of negative emotions. The results are discussed in order to highlight the importance of measuring and monitoring children’s life satisfaction to foster optimal conditions of life and to prevent maladaptive adjustment.

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Notes

  1. The significance derived from the value of the cosine coefficient (from 0 to 1). A screen plot allows to identify which value represents the cut-off. In this analysis the cut-off corresponds to the key-word “Animal/Nature”.

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Businaro, N., Pons, F. & Albanese, O. Do Intelligence, Intensity of Felt Emotions and Emotional Regulation Have an Impact on Life Satisfaction? A Quali-quantitative Study on Subjective Wellbeing with Italian Children Aged 8–11. Child Ind Res 8, 439–458 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12187-014-9250-x

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Keywords

  • Children
  • Life satisfaction
  • Intensity of emotions
  • Non-verbal intelligence
  • Emotion regulation