Esther Yin-Nei Cho and Fuk-Yuen Yu (2020) analysed the frameworks adopted by 186 studies which attempted to measure child wellbeing. Most frameworks adopt a subjective dimension of wellbeing (n=95). Another relevant proportion of the studies considers both subjective and objective wellbeing (n=59), and only a minority (n=32) focused only on objective dimensions. Subjective aspects of wellbeing include affective and cognitive elements relating to the balance of positive and negative emotions and life satisfaction. They can also include the ability to pursue meaningful goals and self-actualisation.
Given the importance of subjective dimensions in the studies reviewed, we present a summary of the most frequent dimensions of subjective child wellbeing. It is also interesting to note how subjective dimensions have been adopted more widely in the last decade, indicating a significant change in the understanding of child wellbeing.
Social relationships (family, peer, general) and community connectedness
Health, physical functioning, and physical wellbeing
Psychological wellbeing and personal resources
Emotional functioning and wellbeing
Leisure and time use
Overall life satisfaction
Sense of safety
Learning and cognitive functioning
Children’s rights and autonomy
Spirituality and others
Source: Cho & Yu 2020, p. 7