A global decline in adolescents’ subjective well-being: a comparative study exploring patterns of change in the life satisfaction of 15-year-old students in 46 countries

Marquez, J. and Long, E. (2021) A global decline in adolescents’ subjective well-being: a comparative study exploring patterns of change in the life satisfaction of 15-year-old students in 46 countries. Child Indicators Research, 14(3), pp. 1251-1292. (doi: 10.1007/s12187-020-09788-8)

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Abstract

There is a growing body of research that demonstrates declines in subjective well-being and increases in mental health problems among children and young people in recent decades. However, there is little comparative research examining changes in adolescents’ life satisfaction (LS) across a large number of countries, and critically, how this differs across sociodemographic groups. This study addresses this question by investigating changes in the LS of 15-year-old students between 2015 and 2018, with particular attention given to differences by gender, socio-economic status, immigrant background and urbanity. Data for this study come from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Due to the skewed nature of LS scale variables, the current study includes both mean levels of LS in a 0 to 10 scale, and the proportion of students reporting low LS (5 points or less). Linear regression models were used. Results demonstrate a global decline in mean levels of LS in 39 out of the 46 countries. In most countries, mean LS declined more among girls than among boys. Mean LS declined more, and the proportion of students reporting low LS increased more, among non-immigrant students and those of higher SES in the majority of countries. Findings regarding rural or urban communities were mixed. We advise that heterogeneity across all sociodemographic groups needs to be accounted for in public policy efforts to increase LS among young people.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Long, Dr Emily and Marquez, Mr Jose
Authors: Marquez, J., and Long, E.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Child Indicators Research
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1874-897X
ISSN (Online):1874-8988
Published Online:15 December 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in Child Indicators Research 14(3): 1251-1292
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
302716MRC Skills Development Fellowship ProgrammeJill PellMedical Research Council (MRC)MR/S015078/1S&PS - Administration
727631SPHSU Core Renewal: Relationships & Health Improvement Research ProgrammeLisa McDaidMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/11IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
Chief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU11
727661SPHSU Core Renewal: Complexity in Health Improvement Research ProgrammeLaurence MooreMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/14IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
Chief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU14