Life Satisfaction Among High School Students with Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Problems

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Over the last decade, there has been increased interest in measuring life satisfaction among children and adolescents as an indicator of broad well-being and happiness. Although limited, existing research with students with social, emotional, and behavioral (SEB) problems indicates they experience lower life satisfaction compared with their nondisabled peers. We evaluated life satisfaction ratings by 553 high school students with SEB problems and examined those ratings relative to their academic, mental health, and behavioral outcomes as well as demographic characteristics. In addition, we examined stability of life satisfaction reports over time. Overall, students reported “medium” satisfaction with life, except in the School domain, which was rated least favorably. Higher life satisfaction reports significantly correlated with lower anxiety, depression, and behavior problems, as well as higher reading and math achievement. Differences were found based on gender and ethnicity, with female and Hispanic/Latino students reporting lower satisfaction in certain life domains compared with their counterparts. Finally, self-reported life satisfaction showed variability across time.



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