Amy Clair, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Oxford
Recent years have seen an increase in interest in how happy children are with their lives in many countries.
Comparisons of wealthy nations show that there is cause for concern, with many studies finding that the UK lags behind in terms of how satisfied children are with their lives, ranking bottom of a Unicef report in 2007 for example (although there was some evidence of improvement in 2013). In order to improve this, we must improve our understanding what drives children’s satisfaction.
There has been a lot of work investigating how individual characteristics impact life satisfaction, for example we know that girls report lower satisfaction than boys. However, there has been relatively little work examining how children’s environments affect how satisfied they feel about their lives. Two of the main environments in the majority of children’s lives are the home and the school. These locations are where children spend the bulk of their time and they provide the location for many of their important relationships, with parents, teachers, and friends for example.