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Comparing Children’s Experiences and Evaluations of Their Lives in 11 Different Countries


This study explores similarities and differences in the lives of 12 year-old children from 11 diverse countries around the world – Algeria, Brazil, Chile, England, Israel, Romania, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Uganda, and USA – by focusing on their own evaluations of their lives in four main categories: the context of children’s lives, time use, satisfaction with life and particular aspects of life. Furthermore, potential cross-cultural methodological and analytical issues are raised, and their implications for cross-national research comparisons are discussed. The results are obtained from the international Children’s Worlds (ISCWeB) world-wide research survey on children’s subjective well-being. Our findings reveal considerable variations between countries in the context of children’s lives, in the ways that they spend their time and in their satisfaction and evaluations of aspects in their lives. Our analysis also suggests potential cultural differences in response patterns in some of the countries. Ways to overcome these issues are detailed and demonstrated along with the great potential of comparative research of children’s subjective well-being.

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  1. Note that these comparisons do not include Spain as not all of these questions were asked in the Spanish survey.


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Correspondence to Gwyther Rees.

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Rees, G., Dinisman, T. Comparing Children’s Experiences and Evaluations of Their Lives in 11 Different Countries. Child Ind Res 8, 5–31 (2015).

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  • Children’s subjective well-being
  • Cross-cultural issues
  • Cross-national comparison
  • Time use
  • Life satisfaction