The Subjective Well-Being of Malaysian School Children: Grade Level, Gender and Ethnicity


The present study explores the subjective well-being of Malaysian children between 12 and 14 years of age. These children are beginning the transition from childhood to adulthood. They are confronted by a range of social and developmental influences that impact their self concept, self esteem, independence skills and their sense of their personal well-being. Responses on the Personal Wellbeing Index (School Children) were collected from over a thousand children in Form 1 and Form 2 grade levels drawn from a sample of ten schools in Ipoh, Malaysia. The results for the sample as a whole range from the lowest average score in “happiness with life achievement” at 68.1 up to a score of 80.7 on the “personal relationships” domain out of a total possible score of 100. Significant differences between the male and female participants were noted with males rating their subjective well-being as higher than the ratings by females on their “satisfaction with life as a whole” as well as their happiness with “personal safety”. The younger students (Form 1 gradelevel) rated their happiness as significantly higher on the majority of life domains as compared to Form 2 students. There was also a significant difference between the students attending Chinese schools and those attending non-Chinese “National” schools. While those attending Chinese schools rated themselves substantially higher in regard to their happiness with “achievement in life”, those in the other schools rated themselves higher on most of the other domains as well as significantly higher on “satisfaction with life as a whole”. The strongest associations with “life as a whole” included “standard of living”, “personal safety” and “future security”.

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Clark, M. , Amar-Singh, H. & Hashim, L. (2014). The Subjective Well-Being of Malaysian School Children: Grade Level, Gender and Ethnicity. Psychology, 5, 1453-1462. doi: 10.4236/psych.2014.512156.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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