The impacts of financial circumstance change on subjective well-being of children: a longitudinal analysis of the British Household Panel Survey

Publication type

Conference Paper


COST A19 Training School. Roskilde University, Copenhagen, Denmark, 15-18th June 2006


Publication date

June 1, 2006


This paper examines the differences in children’s subjective well-being (SWB) in relation to the different financial circumstance of their households. Secondary data analyses of the British Household Panel Survey and its Youth Survey were conducted. SWB was operationalised using indicators generated from the survey questions regarding ‘happiness’ (life satisfaction), ‘feeling troubled’ (negative affect) and ‘self-esteem’ of children aged 11-15.
Analysis was conducted both between and within groups of households with different financial statuses. The research presented here looks not only at the parents' financial status itself but also at how it changes with time and examines such change in association with children's SWB. The receipt of Income Support (IS) (social assistance) was used as an objective indicator of household's financial situation. Additionally, a subjective indicator, which asks parents about their perception of their own financial situation, was employed for the analysis. Changes in the household’s financial situation were monitored by comparing the indicators of economic circumstance over time.
The paper concludes that, the patterns of associations between household’s financial situation and children’s SWB are gender dependent. No relationships were found between the objective financial situation of fathers and their children’s SWB; but the mothers’ financial situation was, associated with girls’ well-being. The father’s subjective feelings about his financial situation were only associated with well-being of girls but not boys. Overall, the household’s financial circumstance appears to have a greater impact on the SWB of girls rather than boys. Discussions of the findings are provided.





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