Subjective well-being: What do adolescents say?

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The aim of this paper is to analyse how 10- to 15-year-old adolescents define their own perceptions of well-being and the factors influencing it at their age. Ten focus groups were organized, two from each age group. One group for each age included the students with the lowest scores in subjective well-being (SWB) and the other included those with the highest, according to their responses to previously administered psychometric scales. The views of the participating adolescents were explored by means of a content analysis. In general, the children mentioned both positive and negative elements of participating in defining what constitutes well-being. According to these children, well-being is related to both affects and attitudes, relations with family and friends being key factors in it. Differences in the information provided reveal some variations according to age and SWB score. Children scoring lower in SWB tend to refer more to relationships with friends and basic needs covered, whereas those scoring higher tend to refer more to family relationships and not having problems. The results of this research can contribute to both social policy design and appraisal as they provide an in-depth understanding of how SWB works at these ages ​
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