Child Well-Being

Andrew Dawes

in Childhood Studies

ISBN: 9780199791231
Published online March 2012 | | DOI:
Child Well-Being


Well-being is a broad and contested construct with definitions that vary across disciplines, research studies, policy makers, cultural communities, and age groups. From an earlier emphasis on child poverty, survival, and health, the range of well-being domains included in definitions has expanded considerably. Despite contestation of the construct and its measurement, it is probably fair to state that the well-being of children (persons under eighteen years of age) refers to their current status as assessed across a number of domains appropriate to their stage of life. At least the following are relevant: survival, health (including mental health), safety and protection, education and development, social relations, and participation. Each of these contains a number of subareas. For example, disability may reside within health, although that is controversial. There is an increasing trend, in the industrialized nations at least, to move toward an approach to child well-being in which the focus is less on negative outcomes for children (e.g., delinquency; school dropout) than on positive attributes such as self-efficacy, civic participation, and prosocial behavior. Cultural communities, policy experts, and children themselves may not always share the same concerns when it comes to description and measurement. There is growing, although limited, realization of the importance of culturally valid conceptualization and measurement. Children and adolescents create their own cultural worlds and ideas about their well-being in accordance with their age, status, and local norms. Their perspectives are increasingly being sought in order to derive valid measures of their well-being.

Article.  5826 words. 

Subjects: Development Studies

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