The Characteristics of Children’s Subjective Well-Being

Tamar Dinisman, Asher Ben-Arieh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Despite the increased interest in recent decades in the study of children’s subjective well-being (SWB), much too little is known about the factors that contribute to their SWB, especially with regards to socio-demographic characteristics. In addition, only handful of studies has made a comparison between countries and was based on large samples. The present study is a first of its kind. Utilizing the International Study of Children’s Well-Being first wave data set with questionnaires from over 34,500 children from 14 different countries to explore the characteristics of children’s SWB and the relations between an array of socio-demographic variables and children’s SWB. SWB was measured using three scales—overall life satisfaction, overall satisfaction in specific domains and overall SWB that was measured using agreement items. The socio-demographic variables were composed of demographic characteristics (e.g. gender and age), self-reported socio-economic items and the children’s country of residence. Findings show that children’s SWB in all countries is relatively high, although some variation can be found between the three SWB scales. Differences were found between the three measurements of SWB in regard to the explained variance, nevertheless the socio-demographic characteristics explain relatively low amount of the variance in SWB (10.9–20.2 %). The demographic variables have the lowest contribution, followed by the socio-economic items, while countries have the highest contribution. Thus one of our main conclusions is that the answer for understanding children’s SWB does not lay in the socio-demographic characteristics. The implications of these findings for further research of children’s SWB are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)555-569
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • Children’s SWB
  • International comparison
  • Socio-demographic characteristics
  • The International Survey of Children’s Well-Being (ISCWeB)


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