Trajectories of adolescent life satisfaction

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

August 3, 2022


Increasing global policy interest in measuring and improving population wellbeing has prompted academic investigations into the dynamics of lifespan life satisfaction. Yet little research has assessed the complete adolescent age range, although it harbours developmental changes that could affect wellbeing far into adulthood. This study investigates how life satisfaction develops throughout the whole of adolescence, and compares this development to that in adulthood, by applying exploratory and confirmatory latent growth curve modelling to UK and German data, respectively (37 076 participants, 10–24 years). We find a near universal decrease in life satisfaction during adolescence. This decrease is steeper than at any other point across adulthood. Further, our findings suggest that adolescent girls' life satisfaction is lower than boys’, but that this difference does not extend into adulthood. The study highlights the importance of studying adolescent subjective wellbeing trajectories to inform research, policy and practice.

Published in

Royal Society Open Science


Volume: 9






Open Access

© 2022 The Authors.

Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.

Related Publications



Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author


Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society


Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs


Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report


Key research themes and areas of interest