Subjective well-being amongst children in the Western Cape : multi-group analysis across three age groups
Globally the Subjective Well-Being (SWB) of children is recognized as having a significant effect on the child's psychological and social functioning. Furthermore, not only does children's SWB have effects on childhood well-being research, it has also increased the knowledge of how children view their life that has been determined through the measurement of specific domains that relates to children's lives. The overall aim of this study was to ascertain the SWB of children across three age groups in the Western Cape. Within this process, the study further aimed to fit the structural model depicting the nature of the relationship between global, domain specific and overall life satisfaction across three age groups. The Theory of Model Fit: Goodness of Fit and Fit Indexes was used as the theoretical position conceptualising the study. The sample included 3236 children aged 8, 10, and 12 years selected using stratified random sampling from 29 schools in the Western Cape. The study used Structural Equation Modelling and Multi-group Confirmatory Factor Analysis to address the stated aims and objectives. Ethics principles of informed consent, anonymity, the right to withdraw and privacy were adhered to within the study. Findings of this study indicate that the descriptive statistics depicted high levels of SWB for both measures with mean composite scores ranging between 81.20 to 86.15 for the SLSS; and 83.29 to 84.07 for the PWI-SC. Confirmatory factor analysis showed excellent fit for both the SLSS and the PWI-SC across age groups (multi-group model). The application of Multi-group Confirmatory Factor Analysis in the current study found the measures to be comparable across the three age groups (8, 10 & 12) for the SLSS and two age groups for the PWI-SC (10 & 12). A combined model with two latent constructs, representing different levels of abstraction was also tested. An excellent fit was obtained for this combined model. Appropriate fit statistics was obtained for the overall pooled sample. The standardised regression weights of 0.57 for the PWI-SC and 0.47 for the SLSS point to adequate loadings of the latent constructs onto the OLS. Markedly, it was found that a significant overall mean difference was found between the 10 and 12-year olds and not between the 8 and 10-year olds; while for the domain-specific PWI-SC a similar tendency was noted across the 10 and 12-year olds participants (8 year old group was not applicable in this analysis).