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In Hong Kong, as elsewhere across East Asia, few empirical studies have captured the voices of children in their middle years to analyse the determinants of subjective child well-being. To fill this research gap, this article employs data from 1,279 randomly selected Hong Kong children aged from 9 - 14 to investigate the mediating role of social capital in the relationship between their socioeconomic status (SES) and subjective well-being. The data was collected as part of the third wave of the International Survey of Children’s Well-Being which included Hong Kong for the first time. Using a path analytical framework and bootstrapping analysis as part of a theoretical ‘health assets approach’, several sub-components of social capital, including family, school, and community sense of belonging as well as peer relationships, were found to constitute protective factors for Hong Kong children’s overall life satisfaction (OLS) as well as their scores on the multi-item Children’s Worlds Subjective Well-Being Scale (CW-SWBS). After controlling for SES and other sociodemographic characteristics, family, school, and community autonomy support were not found to augment the subjective well-being of Hong Kong children. Furthermore, school sense of belonging augmented children’s scores on the composite CW-SWBS but not OLS. This article adds to the literature by presenting empirical evidence that a strong sense of belonging—particularly but not exclusively within children’s families—and strong peer relationships present valuable social resources that can be utilised by children in their middle years to optimise their subjective well-being irrespective of their family socioeconomic background.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was funded by a Lingnan University Faculty Research Grant, Children's Views on their Lives and Well-being in Hong Kong (Project Number: 102157). We are indebted to the Children’s Worlds Core Group for selecting us to become one of the 35 local research teams that contributed to the third wave of the International Survey of Children’s Well-Being (ISCWeB) funded by the Jacobs Foundation ( http://www.isciweb.org ). Shing Pui Doris Wong and Yee Yee Yovela Li provided expert research assistance throughout all the key stages of this project. Gwyther Rees was instrumental in advising us about the sampling strategy, items in the final survey questionnaire, as well as data cleaning and weighting. Finally, much thanks are due to the 33 participating primary and secondary schools across Hong Kong without whose collaboration the data collection would not have been possible.
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.
- Children’s subjective well-being
- Middle childhood
- Socioeconomic status
- Social capital
- Health assets approach
- Hong Kong
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- 1 Finished
1/03/18 → 31/08/19
Project: Grant Research