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Life Satisfaction, Bullying, and Feeling Safe as a Protective Factor for Chilean and Brasilian Adolescents

Abstract

Life satisfaction is a cognitive and stable construct that comprises the subjective well-being and an accurate indicator of the perception of life circumstances among adolescents. Previous studies demonstrate that adolescents’ life satisfaction is associated with developmental outcomes and positive psychological variables as well as protection against risk factors, such as bullying. Several international studies demonstrate that adolescents’ life satisfaction can be negatively affected by bullying; consequently this behavior has become a matter of public concern. Our study hypothesized that the perception of safety plays a protective role against bullying and therefore maintains life satisfaction levels in adolescents. We examined a cohort of 1955 Chilean and 1789 Brazilian adolescents that participated in the International Survey of Children’s Well-Being (ISCWeB) 3rd Wave in Latin America. Using multiple regression and moderation analyses we found that the interaction victim × feeling safety predicts adolescents life satisfaction. Hence, adolescents that report high victim scores and high safety also report high life satisfaction levels, versus adolescents that report high victim scores and low safety that report lower levels of life satisfaction; suggesting a protective role of the perception of safety against victim scores. Our results confirm the importance and the protective role of the perception of safety (i.e. “feeling safe”) on adolescents’ life satisfaction. Particularly, we provide evidence that supports the promotion of safer environments at schools, within families, and in our communities in Latin America.

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Funding

This research was funded by Fondecyt Regular 1180607, CONICYT, Chile.

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Authors

Contributions

Jorge J. Varela: Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Investigation, Methodology, Writing - original draft. Andrés Muñoz-Najar Pacheco: Formal analysis, Methodology, Software. María Josefina Chuecas: Conceptualization, Writing - original draft. Matías E. Rodríguez-Rivas: Data curation, Investigation, Writing - original draft. Paulina Guzmán: Conceptualization, Writing - original draft. Maria Angela Mattar Yunes: Conceptualization, Funding acquisition.

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Correspondence to Jorge J. Varela.

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The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.

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The study was approved by the Ethical Committee of Universidad del Desarrollo, Chile.

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Varela, J.J., Muñoz-Najar Pacheco, A., Chuecas, M.J. et al. Life Satisfaction, Bullying, and Feeling Safe as a Protective Factor for Chilean and Brasilian Adolescents. Child Ind Res 15, 579–598 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12187-021-09872-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12187-021-09872-7

Keywords

  • Life satisfaction
  • Victim
  • Feeling safe
  • Adolescents