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Research on Assessment of Life Satisfaction of Children and Adolescents

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Abstract

Over the years, various psychologists haveissued calls for greater attention to a scienceof positive psychology, which focuses onstudying conditions that promote optimal humanand societal development. Recent calls (e.g.,McCullough and Snyder, 2000; Seligman andCsikszentmihalyi, 2000) have furthered interestin studies of the nature and determinants ofthe good life. Such a science, along with thecreation of prevention and interventionprograms informed by the expanded scientificframework, is expected to improve the qualityof life for all individuals, not justindividuals who are at risk or who alreadydemonstrate psychopathological conditions. Tocontrast with the previous emphasis onpsychopathology, the development of a positivepsychology requires constructs and measuresthat reflect the full range of humanfunctioning, incorporating indicators of highlevels of wellness as well aspsychopathological functioning. This articlediscusses one such construct, lifesatisfaction, that has been studied extensivelyin adulthood (see Diener et al., 1999), butwhich has only recently gained attention withchildren and adolescents (see Bender, 1997;Huebner, 1997). This article reviews lifesatisfaction assessment research with childrenand adolescents, specifically with regard toconstruct validity. In doing so, the followingareas are addressed: models of lifesatisfaction; convergent validity; discriminantvalidity; relationships with other well-beingmeasures; relationships with external,environmental circumstances; relationships withdemographic variables; cultural factors; groupdifferences on life satisfaction measures;predictive relationships; and stability of lifesatisfaction reports. Conclusions regardingthe validity of the life satisfaction constructare formulated. Recommendations for futureresearch are also discussed.

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Huebner, E.S. Research on Assessment of Life Satisfaction of Children and Adolescents. Social Indicators Research 66, 3–33 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:SOCI.0000007497.57754.e3

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