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What has happened to children’s wellbeing in the UK?

Thapar, Anita ORCID:, Stewart-Brown, Sarah and Harold, Gordon 2021. What has happened to children’s wellbeing in the UK? Lancet Psychiatry 8 (1) , pp. 5-6. 10.1016/S2215-0366(20)30481-8

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“Modern life has been chipping away at children's happiness over time”; this statement was the pessimistic conclusion of The Good Childhood Report 2020, 1 which focused on wellbeing in children between the ages of 10 and 15 years across the UK. The report emphasised that children in the UK, especially girls, are among the most unhappy and least satisfied in Europe. The UK ranked lowest of 24 European countries in its proportion of children aged 15 years with high life satisfaction, lowest in its proportion with a positive sense of purpose in life, and second highest in its proportion with high sadness levels. Although happiness levels with family life and schoolwork have been stable since 2017–18, unhappiness with life as a whole and with friends continued to deteriorate. Fear of failure was found to show the strongest connection with life satisfaction across countries. There was also some evidence of a link over time with changes in child poverty but not with changes in digital use. These findings have important implications for education, social policy, and public health as child poverty and fear of failure relate to sectors where there have been changes in Government policy in the UK and devolved nations (eg, austerity, schooling, the new curriculum, exam changes, and the development of new academies).

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Publisher: Elsevier: Lancet
ISSN: 2215-0366
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 October 2020
Date of Acceptance: 27 October 2020
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 13:54

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