Groundbreaking new research providing insight into children’s well-being has been developed by the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of York.
The research, which was commissioned by The Children’s Society, shows that appearance is a major source of unhappiness for children and that family conflict strongly influences childhood well-being.
Professor Jonathan Bradshaw, the survey’s co-author, said: “This survey makes a major contribution to our understanding of children’s subjective well-being in England and the factors that contribute to it.”
According to the survey – which was developed in order to create a benchmark ‘well-being index’ for children – 22 per cent of girls are unhappy with their looks compared to just 13 per cent of boys. In the two-year study, a team of researchers asked around 100 questions to just under 7,000 children aged 10 to 15, who were asked to rate how happy they were on a scale from 0 to 10 with many aspects of their lives. It was revealed that variations in overall happiness can be explained by whether or not a young person’s family get along.
Bob Reitemeier, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said: “This groundbreaking study is a major step forward in our efforts to understand and enhance the well-being of young people. It shows the vast majority of our children are happy, but it is a major concern that two children in every classroom are unhappy, and that so many are insecure about their appearance and confidence.”
The study showed an average of two children in every class surveyed were unhappy, with seven per cent of the 6,744 young people surveyed saying they were “significantly unhappy”.
Reitemeier added: “Family conflict emerges in this study as a major cause of childhood unhappiness, and so it is vital that families can get the sort of family mediation and counselling.”