Gross-Manos, D., and A. Ben-Arieh. “How Subjective Well-Being Is Associated With Material Deprivation and Social Exclusion in Israeli 12-Year-Olds.” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry (early view; online first).
The literature examining the relations between economic situation and happiness has focused almost exclusively on a household’s income as a proxy for economic situation and, accordingly, also focused chiefly on the adult population, excluding children and adolescents. To fill this gap, this study examines the relation between economic deprivation and happiness by using 2 alternative proxies: material deprivation and social exclusion. The study tests the relation of these measures to the most common measure for happiness-subjective well-being (SWB)-in a sample of Israeli 12-year-olds (N = 1,081). The study also examines the effects of culture and life circumstances on these complex relations. Findings show that both material deprivation and social exclusion are negatively associated with children’s SWB. Social exclusion explained a much larger percentage of children’s SWB, adding up to 20%. Furthermore, children who were identified as materially deprived and socially excluded were found to be at much greater risk for unhappiness. Material deprivation was found to be significantly more important to the SWB of males compared with females, and for Jews compared with Arabs. Finally, some implications for social policy and regarding the relation of economic situation and happiness are discussed.