Child Indicators Research

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 49–69 | Cite as

Measures of Children’s Subjective Well-Being: Analysis of the Potential for Cross-National Comparisons

  • Ferran Casas
  • Gwyther Rees


The potential to make cross-national comparisons is an important aspect of the growing global interest in subjective well-being. Such comparisons offer the prospect of understanding variations in levels of well-being and the factors contributing to it which can be useful for practical and policy initiatives to improve the lives of the population. However, relatively little is known about the extent to which such comparisons are reliable and valid, particularly in relation to children’s well-being. We make use of a large-scale pilot survey undertaken in 11 countries with over 16,000 children around the age of 12 to explore this issue. We examine four different multi-item measures of children’s subjective well-being, three of which have previously been proposed in the literature. We use multi-group confirmatory factor analysis to assess the extent to which it is valid to make cross-national comparisons using these measures. Overall, our results suggest that it should be possible to compare correlations and regressions between most of the countries in our survey using each of these measures. However, cross-national comparisons of mean scores on the measures is generally not supported by our analysis.


Subjective well-being Life satisfaction Happiness Children Adolescents PWI SLSS BMSLSS International comparisons 

Supplementary material

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Table A1 (DOCX 31 kb)
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Table A2 (DOCX 31 kb)
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Table A3 (DOCX 37 kb)
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Table A4 (DOCX 31 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ERIDIQV, Institut de Recerca sobre Qualitat de Vida (IRQV) (Quality of Life Research Institute)Universitat de GironaGironaSpain
  2. 2.Social Policy Research UnitUniversity of YorkYorkUK

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