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The subjective well-being of Spanish adolescents: Variations according to different living arrangements


  • Dinisman, Tamar
  • Montserrat, Carme
  • Casas, Ferran


Children and adolescents' subjective well-being (SWB) has been recognized as an important component in understanding their quality of life. However, little is known about differences in the SWB of children from different groups, particularly those who are living in diverse households. The purpose of this study is to explore differences in SWB between young adolescents in care and in two other living arrangements. The study used data from a large representative sample of Spanish 1st year students in the second compulsory education (mean age=12.08, SD=0.68). 5381 adolescents were divided into three groups according to their living arrangements: ‘living in care’ (0.9%), ‘living in single parent families’ (18.7%) and ‘living in two-parent families’ (80.4%). Self-administered reports were used to measure SWB in five life domains: school, social relationships, leisure time, health, and oneself. Overall life satisfaction was also measured. Background characteristics were obtained mainly in relation to stability in the adolescents' lives in the past year. Adolescents living with two parents reported better SWB in all life domains than those in the other two groups. Differences between adolescents living with one parent and adolescents living in care were mostly found in relation to interpersonal relationships and health. Furthermore, it was found that adolescents living in care have the least stable lives, followed by adolescents living with one parent, while adolescents living with two parents lead much more stable lives. These findings highlight the need to address the SWB of vulnerable children, particularly those living in care. Results are discussed in view of the value of stability to children's lives.

Suggested Citation

  • Dinisman, Tamar & Montserrat, Carme & Casas, Ferran, 2012. "The subjective well-being of Spanish adolescents: Variations according to different living arrangements," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(12), pages 2374-2380.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:34:y:2012:i:12:p:2374-2380 DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2012.09.005

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. María Sastre & Gaëlle Ferrière, 2000. "Family 'Decline' and the Subjective Well-being of Adolescents," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 49(1), pages 69-82, January.
    2. Davidson-Arad, Bilha, 2005. "Fifteen-month follow-up of children at risk: Comparison of the quality of life of children removed from home and children remaining at home," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 1-20, January.
    3. Carmel Proctor & P. Linley & John Maltby, 2009. "Youth Life Satisfaction: A Review of the Literature," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 10(5), pages 583-630, October.
    4. Bradshaw, Jonathan & Keung, Antonia & Rees, Gwyther & Goswami, Haridhan, 2011. "Children's subjective well-being: International comparative perspectives," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 548-556, April.
    5. Ferran Casas, 1997. "Children's Rights and Children's Quality of Life: Conceptual and Practical Issues," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 283-298, November.
    6. *Unicef, 2007. "Child Poverty in Perspective: An overview of child well-being in rich countries," Papers inreca07/19, Innocenti Report Card.
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    Cited by:

    1. Carme Montserrat, 2014. "The Child Protection System from the Perspective of Young People: Messages from 3 Studies," Social Sciences, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(4), pages 1-18, October.
    2. repec:eee:cysrev:v:80:y:2017:i:c:p:105-115 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:cysrev:v:79:y:2017:i:c:p:442-449 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:cysrev:v:80:y:2017:i:c:p:88-95 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:cysrev:v:80:y:2017:i:c:p:149-156 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Llosada-Gistau, Joan & Montserrat, Carme & Casas, Ferran, 2015. "The subjective well-being of adolescents in residential care compared to that of the general population," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 150-157.


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