Religion and subjective well-being among children: A comparison of six religion groups

Hanita Kosher*, Asher Ben-Arieh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Despite the increased interest in recent decades in the study of children's subjective well-being (SWB), studies in this area are still rare, especially cross-national large-scale surveys that study SWB of children from different nations and cultures. Only, few studies addressed the aspect of religion in cross cultural studies on children's SWB. The present study is among the first to investigate how children from different religion groups evaluate their SWB, utilizing the Children's Worlds survey second wave data set with questionnaires from over 38,000 children aged 10–12 from 16 countries around the world. We divided the full sample of children into six religion groups by the dominant religion in each country: Christian from Western countries (including Protestant and Catholic), Eastern Christians (Orthodox Christian), Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Asian-Christians/Buddhists. Our descriptive results indicate significant variations in children's SWB between different religion groups. We found that Jews, Muslims, and Eastern Christian children tend to be more satisfied with life as a whole as well as with different aspects of life (family, friends and self), and that Hindu and Asian-Christian/Buddhist children tend to be less happy and less satisfied. Yet, variations tests as well as regressions analysis indicates that religion explains only very little of the variance. Significant religion differences in the strength of the correlations between children's satisfaction with different life domains and between their satisfactions with their life as a whole were observed as well. Stronger correlations appeared among Asian-Christian/Buddhist children, and the weaker correlations were among Hindu children. Based on these results we conclude that religion structures the context in which children's SWB is formed. And that the SWB of children is being shaped differently in various religion cultures.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)63-77
Number of pages15
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - Sep 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


  • Children
  • Religion
  • Subjective well-being
  • Well-being


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