Cultural Meanings that Mediate Life Satisfaction in Chilean Children and Adolescents

  • Lorena Ramírez Casas del ValleEmail author
  • Verónica Monreal Álvarez
  • Gabriel Urzúa Vera
  • Francisca Valdebenito Acosta
Part of the Children’s Well-Being: Indicators and Research book series (CHIR, volume 16)


This chapter seeks to contribute to the field of subjective well-being in childhood and adolescence by analyzing the main meanings produced by children and adolescents about being satisfied or dissatisfied with their lives in the areas of family, school, friends, neighborhood and themselves. Well-being, regarded as subjective production, is understood as a culturally anchored contingent social construction, which dynamically develops and transforms in the socio-cultural context. Cultural meanings are defined as units of analysis that integrate opinions, evaluations, assessments and perceptions of everyday experiences that mediate the relationship with cognitive processes that are associated with the experience of well-being, and satisfaction or dissatisfaction, while at the same time they are an integral, legitimate and accepted part of children’s sociocultural contexts. In this qualitative study, 77 children and adolescents between 10 and 14 years of age participated. They were selected as an intentional sample (41 girls and 36 boys) that belong to different socioeconomic and cultural levels. Our results show that the mediator meanings of well-being refer to relationships with others and their emotional support; the value of autonomy, expressed as dissatisfaction with hostility and abuse; the value of safety; contact with nature; feeling free in everyday spaces; children and adolescents’ expectation of individual goals; and the achievement of personal development projects as expected, regarding family and social standards.


Subjective well-being Children and adolescents Cultural meanings 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lorena Ramírez Casas del Valle
    • 1
    Email author
  • Verónica Monreal Álvarez
    • 2
  • Gabriel Urzúa Vera
    • 1
  • Francisca Valdebenito Acosta
    • 3
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversidad Central de ChileSantiagoChile
  2. 2.School of PsychologyPontificia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile
  3. 3.Faculty of MedicineUniversidad de ChileSantiagoChile

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