UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Life satisfaction among middle-years children of various language backgrounds Emerson, Scott Daniel


BACKGROUND: Understanding the measurement of life satisfaction and its association with social supports among children from diverse language backgrounds is a key step of measuring healthy child development in British Columbia (BC). The Satisfaction with Life Scale adapted for Children is a self-report measure of child life satisfaction and has exhibited sound psychometric properties for a representative population of children in BC. If found to show measurement equivalence (ME) across subgroups, SWLS-C means and correlates can be meaningfully compared across such subgroups. Peer and adult support positively relate to SWLS-C scores for BC children overall but such relationships are unknown for specific language background groups. Using language background as a proxy for cultural background, this thesis examined: 1) the cross-cultural ME of the SWLS-C; 2) cross-cultural differences in SWLS-C means; 3) the cross-cultural ME of peer support and adult support scales; 4) cross-cultural associations of peer and adult support with SWLS-C scores. METHOD: Participants were 20,119 BC children (Mage 9.2; 50.2% male) who completed the SWLS-C, peer support, and adult support scales as part of a child health survey (the Middle-Years Development Instrument). ME of the SWLS-C, peer support, and adult support scales was examined across eight cultural (i.e., language) background groups. Means and inter-relationships of the SWLS-C, peer support, and adult support scales were estimated across cultural background groups. RESULTS: Findings supported ME between the English group and: all other cultural background groups for the SWLS-C, three other cultural background groups for the peer support scale, and six other cultural background groups for the adult support scale. Relative to the English group, SWLS-C means differed for several cultural background groups - variation consistent with mean differences for the peer support and adult support scales. Within each cultural background group, peer and adult support scale scores positively related to SWLS-C scores. DISCUSSION: This thesis provided evidence for meaningful comparison of life satisfaction, peer support, and adult support means across diverse cultural background groups, highlighting differences in life satisfaction between cultural background groups of children, but underscored the importance of fostering adult and peer support to promote healthy child development.

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