Subjective Quality of Life and Self-Esteem in Children: the Role of Primary and Secondary Control in Coping With Everyday Stress

  • Karen Marriage
  • Robert A. Cummins
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 23)


Two major predictors of subjective quality of life (SQOL) in adults are known to be self-esteem and a sense of primary control. Moreover, secondary control is known to be an important defence strategy when primary control fails. This study aimed to determine whether these relationships also apply to children. A sample of 66 children aged from 5 to 12 years were compared on their use of primary and secondary control and on their ratings of SQOL and self-esteem. SQOL was measured using the Comprehensive Quality of Life Scale, self-esteem by using the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory, and primary and secondary control were measured by coding children’s responses to three short video clips of children in stressful situations. It was found that younger children use more primary control and less secondary control than older children. However, five year olds were found capable of producing secondary control strategies. Contrary to expectation, primary and secondary control did not predict either self-esteem or SQOL. However, self-esteem predicted SQOL as expected and no sex differences were found. These findings emphasise important differences from the adult literature and the reasons for this are discussed.


Life Satisfaction Subjective Quality Primary Control Control Response Secondary Control 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen Marriage
    • 1
  • Robert A. Cummins
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyDeakin UniversityBurwood, VictoriaAustralia

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