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The Assessment of Subjective Well-Being in Young Children: Strengths and Challenges

posted Mar 14, 2016, 3:44 AM by Naomi Naghi   [ updated Mar 11, 2017, 6:55 AM ]

Monica Gonzalez-Carrasco[1]Sara Malo, Ferran Casas, Gemma Crous, Mireia Baena & Dolors Navarro

Journal of Social Research & Policy
Volume: 6, Issue: 2
, Online First
Date: December 2015
ISSN: 2067-2640 (print), 2068-9861 (electronic)

Abstract: Although the study of subjective well-being (SWB) has progressively extended to increasingly younger ages, doubts about the capacity of young children to provide reliable answers regarding their own SWB have meant less research has been done on children under 12 years of age. As a consequence, only a few instruments have been designed for the assessment of SWB in young children - the Personal Well-Being Index–School Children version (PWI-SC) being one of them. The authors of this instrument recommend checking respondents’ comprehension of the items and capacity to transform their own evaluations into a specific figure on a scale before administering it. Taking this as a starting point, and framed within the Children’s Worlds project (, a sample of 1,109 Spanish children, mainly 8-year-olds, were presented with various situations (for instance, not being able to go to the cinema with their parents when they want to), to which they had to provide both a qualitative answer (explaining how they would feel in their own words) and a quantitative answer to different types of scales (emoticons to express levels of satisfaction, a scale of satisfaction from 1 to 5, and one from 0 to 10, both without emoticons). The qualitative answers were classified into different categories in order to compare them with the quantitative answers to the same questions. Results show that the highest percentage of cases corresponds to total consistency between both types of response.

 Keywords: Subjective Well-Being; Children; Measurement; Data Triangulation; Pre-Testing

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