A new report explores family and school influences on children’s social and emotional well-being.
The project explored possible influences on children’s behavioural and emotional difficulties, and on their subjective well-being. It used data collected from mothers and children in the first birth cohort of the Growing Up in Scotland study, interviewed in 2012/13 when the child was seven years old. Mothers were asked about the child’s behavioural and emotional problems, and children were asked about their life satisfaction. Analyses explored the role of child, maternal and household characteristics, parenting behaviours, school experiences, friendships, leisure activities, and materialistic attitudes on both child mental health (high levels of behavioural and emotional problems) and low subjective well-being (low life satisfaction).
Factors associated with low life satisfaction and high behavioural and emotional difficulties were: Greater conflict in the parent-child relationship; lower parental awareness of the child’s activities or relationships; child difficulties adjusting to the learning and social environment at primary school; and the child having poorer quality friendships.
Factors associated with low life satisfaction (but not high levels of behavioural and emotional problems): A recent death, illness or accident in the family; and less positive parenting.
Factors associated with high levels of behavioural and emotional problems (but not low life satisfaction): poor child and maternal health; low maternal education; family mental health/substance use problems; and low parent-child warmth.