Trends in life satisfaction in European and North-American adolescents from 2002 to 2010 in over 30 countries
Gaspar de Matos, Margarida
Background: Life satisfaction (LS) is an indicator which is widely used for assessing the perception of a child’s feeling about his life. Methods: LS is assessed in Health Behaviour in School-aged Children via the Cantril ladder with 10 steps indicating the worst and best possible life. This range of values (0–10) was dichotomized into ‘low’ (0–5) vs. ‘high’ (6–10). Countries, age groups and genders were compared based on the odds ratio (OR) of declaring a higher LS in 2010 with respect to 2002. Results: Analyzing the difference between 2002 and 2010, six countries from Western Europe show decreasing LS: Austria, Canada, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland and Greenland. In contrast, a group of Eastern European Countries, that is, Estonia, Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia and Ukraine, show a significant increase in LS. Data on gender and age differences confirm the lower rating of LS in girls and a decreasing rating with age. Conclusion: The LS scale appears to be a tool capable of discriminating the level of wellbeing of adolescent population among countries.