Notions of Well-Being, the State of Child Well-Being Research and the MYWeB Project

  • Gary Pollock
  • Jessica Ozan
  • Haridhan Goswami
Part of the Children’s Well-Being: Indicators and Research book series (CHIR, volume 19)


There has been a growing interest among academics, policy makers and practitioners in the subjective well-being of children and young people (CYP). The recognition of CYP’s rights to having a good childhood and good future life chances, coupled with the injunction from the New Sociology of Childhood to consult with CYP as active agents have resulted in an increasing number of studies on children and young people’s well-being at national and international levels. However, the design, content, and modes of data collection used in these surveys are influenced by the question of the extent to which the researchers view children and young people as similar or different to adults and which participatory models they are undertaking for the young people in the study. However, the design, content, and modes of data collection used in these surveys are influenced by a number of factors including conceptual underpinning of well-being, its measurement and participatory model(s) used by the researchers for children in those surveys. This chapter reviews these aspects before describing the structure of this book with summaries of each subsequent chapter.


Children Young people Well-being Surveys 


  1. Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2012). Kids count. Accessed 3 Nov 2017.
  2. Ben-Arieh, A. (2008). The child indicators movement: Past, present and future. Child Indicators Research, 1, 3–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Biswas-Diener, R., Kashdan, T. B., & King, L. A. (2009). Two traditions of happiness research, not two distinct types of happiness. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 4(3), 208–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bradshaw, J. (2009). Social inclusion and child poverty. In P. Perrig-Chiello (Ed.), Interdisciplinary workshop report on Changing childhood in a changing Europe. Strasbourg: ESF Social Sciences Unit.Google Scholar
  5. Casas, F. (2011). Subjective social indicators and child and adolescent well-being. Child Indicators Research, 4, 555–575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chapple, S., & Richardson, D. (2009). Doing better for children. Paris: OECD Publishing.Google Scholar
  7. Children’s World. (2017). International Survey of Children’s Well-Being (ISCWeB). Accessed 3 Nov 2017.
  8. Compton, W. C., Smith, M. L., Cornish, K. A., & Qualls, D. L. (1996). Factor structure of mental health measures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 406–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Council of the European Union. (2012). Preventing and tackling child poverty and social exclusion and promoting children’s well-being. Brussels: Council of the European Union. Accessed 15 Dec 2017.Google Scholar
  10. Cummins, R., & Lau, A. (2005). Personal well-being index – School children (3rd ed.). Melbourne: School of Psychology, Deakin University.Google Scholar
  11. Deutsches Jugendinstitut (DJI), München. (2000). DJI-Jugendsurvey 2000. GESIS Datenarchiv, Köln. ZA3609 Datenfile Version 1.0.0.
  12. Diener, E., & Lucas, R. E. (1999). Personality and subjective well-being. In D. Kahneman, E. Diener, & N. Schwarz (Eds.), Well-being: The foundations of hedonic psychology (pp. 213–229). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  13. Fattore, T., Mason, J., & Watson, E. (2007). Children’s conceptualisation(s) of their well-being. Social Indicators Research, 80, 5–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fredrickson, B. L., & Losada, M. F. (2005, October). Positive affect and the complex dynamics of human flourishing. American Psychologist, 60(7), 678–686.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gabhainn, S., & Sixsmith, J. (2005). Children’s understandings of well-being. Dublin: National Children’s Office.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gabos, A., & Kopasz, M. (2013). Conception paper for an Integrated Poverty and Living Condition Indicator System (IPOLIS) database. In GRID/TARKI Expert Workshop on ‘Framework and methods for indicators building for various vulnerable groups’. Budapest, 27–29 November.Google Scholar
  17. Gabos, A., & Toth, I. G. (2011). Child well-being in the European Union: Better monitoring instruments for better policies. Budapest: TARKI Social Research Institute.Google Scholar
  18. Goswami, H., Fox, C., & Pollock, G. (2016). The current evidence base and future needs in improving children's well-being across Europe: Is there a case for a comparative longitudinal survey? Child Indicators Research, 9(2), 371–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Guillén-Royo, M., & Velazco, J. (2006). Exploring the relationship between happiness, objective and subjective well-being: Evidence from rural Thailand. ESRC Research Group on Well-being in Developing Countries. WeD Working Paper 16. Bath: WeD.Google Scholar
  20. Hanafin, S. & Brooks, A.M. (2005). Report on the development of a national set of child well-being indicators. Dublin: National Children’s Office/The Stationery Office.Google Scholar
  21. Hanafin, S., Brooks, A. M., Carroll, E., Fitzgerald, E., Gabhainn, S. N., & Sixsmith, J. (2007). Achieving consensus in developing a national set of child well-being indicators. Social Indicators Research, 80, 79–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Helweg-Larsen, K., Sundaram, V., Curtis, T., & Larsen, H. V. (2004). The Danish youth survey 2002: Asking young people about sensitive issues. International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 63(2), 147–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hicks, S. (2011). The measurement of subjective well-being. Paper for measuring national well-being technical advisory group. Newport: ONS.Google Scholar
  24. Howieson, C., Croxford, L., & Howat, N. (2008). Meeting the needs for longitudinal data on youth transitions in Scotland – An options appraisal. Edinburgh: Scottish Government Social Research.Google Scholar
  25. Huebner, E. S. (1994). Preliminary development and validation of a multidimensional life satisfaction scale for children. Psychological Assessment, 6(2), 149–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Huppert, F. A., & So, T. T. C. (2013). Flourishing across Europe: Application of a new conceptual framework for defining well-being. Social Indicators Research, 110(3), 837–861.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. King, L. A., & Napa, C. K. (1998). What makes life good? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 156–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kroll, C., & Delhey, J. (2013). A happy nation? Opportunities and challenges of using subjective indicators in policymaking. Social Indicators Research, 114(1), 13–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Land, K. C., Lamb, V. L., & Mustillo, S. K. (2001). Child and youth well-being in the United States, 1975–1998: Some findings from a new index. Social Indicators Research, 56, 241–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mason, J., & Danby, S. (2011). Children as experts in their lives: Child inclusive research. Child Indicators Research, 4, 185–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. McGillivray, M. (2007). Human well-being: Issues, concepts and measures. In M. McGillivray (Ed.), Human well-being: Concept and measurement. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. McGregor, I., & Little, B. R. (1998). Personal projects, happiness, and meaning: On doing well and being yourself. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 494–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Montserrat, C., Dinisman, T., Bălţătescu, S., Grigoraş, B. A., & Casas, F. (2014). The effect of critical changes and gender on adolescents’ subjective well-being: Comparisons across 8 countries. Child Indicators Research, 8(1), 111–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Moore, K. A., Murphey, D., Bandy, T., & Lawner, E. (2014). Indices of child well-being and developmental contexts. In A. Ben-Arieh, F. Casas, I. Frones, & J. E. Korbin (Eds.), Handbook of child well-being: Theories, methods and policies in global perspective (pp. 2807–2822). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Noll, H. H. (2013). Subjective social indicators: Benefits and limitations for policy making - an introduction to this special issue. Social Indicators Research, 114(1), 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pollard, E. L., & Lee, P. D. (2003). Child well-being: A systematic review of the literature. Social Indicators Research, 61(1), 59–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Proctor, C., Tweed, R., & Morris, D. (2014). The naturally emerging structure of well-being among young adults: “Big two” or other framework? Journal of Happiness Studies, 16(1), 257–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rees, G., & Dinisman, T. (2015). Comparing children’s experiences and evaluations of their lives in 11 different countries. Child Indicators Research, 8, 5–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rees, G., Bradshaw, J., Goswami, H., & Keung, H. (2010a). Understanding children’s well-being: A national survey of young people’s well-being. London: The Children’s Society.Google Scholar
  40. Rees, G., Goswami, H., & Bradshaw, J. (2010b). Developing an index of children’s subjective well-being in England. London: The Children’s Society.Google Scholar
  41. Rees, G., Goswami, H., Pople, L., Bradshaw, J., Keung, A., & Main, G. (2012). The good childhood report 2012: A review of our children’s well-being. London: The Children’s Society.Google Scholar
  42. Richardson, D. (2012). An evaluation of international surveys of children. Social Policy Division. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  43. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychology, 55(1), 68–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2001). On happiness and human potentials: A review of research on hedonic and Eudaimonic well-being. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 141–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Ryff, C. D., & Keyes, C. L. M. (1995). The structure of psychological well-being revisited. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 719–727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Ryff, C. D., & Singer, B. (1998). The contours of positive human health. Psychological Inquiry, 9, 1–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Ryff, C. D., & Singer, B. (2000). Interpersonal flourishing: A positive health agenda for the new millennium. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 4, 30–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sarriera, J. C., Casas, F., Bedin, L., Abs, D., Strelhow, M. R., Gross-Manos, D., & Giger, J. (2014). Material resources and children’s subjective well-being in eight countries. Child Indicators Research, 8(1), 199–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Stiglitz, J. E., Sen, A., & Fitoussi, J-P. (2009). Report by the commission on the measurement of economic performance and social progress. Paris.Google Scholar
  50. TARKI Social Research Institute. (2010). Child poverty and child well-being in the European Union. TARKI Social Research Institute Report prepared for the DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities (Unit E.2) of the European Commission. Budapest: European Commission. Retrieved from Accessed 15 Dec 2017.
  51. The Children’s Society. (2006). Good childhood? A question for our times. London: The Children’s Society.Google Scholar
  52. Thomas, W. I., & Thomas, D. S. (1928). The child in America: Behaviour problems and Programmes. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
  53. UNICEF. (2007). Child poverty in perspective: An overview of child well-being in rich countries. Innocenti report card 7 Florence: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.Google Scholar
  54. UNICEF. (2010). The children left behind: A league table of inequality in child well-being in the world’s rich countries. Innocenti report card 9. Florence: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.Google Scholar
  55. Veenhoven, R. (2002). Why social policy needs subjective indicators. Social Indicators Research, 58(1–3), 33–46.Google Scholar
  56. Welsh Assembly Government. (2008). Children and young people’s well-being monitor for wales. Cardiff: Welsh Assembly Government.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyManchester Metropolitan UniversityManchesterUK

Personalised recommendations