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The subjective wellbeing of 'at-risk' indigenous and non-indigenous Australian adolescents

journal contribution
posted on 01.06.2014, 00:00 authored by Adrian Tomyn, Robert CumminsRobert Cummins, J M Norrish
Quantitative comparisons of subjective wellbeing (SWB) between samples of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian adolescents are scarce. This paper contributes to this literature by studying adolescents 'at-risk' of disengaging, or who have already disengaged, from school, their families or society. A three-group cross-sectional comparative design was employed, comparing Indigenous (N = 3,187) and non-Indigenous (N = 14,522) 'at-risk' adolescents with a mainstream sample of Victorian high-school students (N = 1,105). Age and gender differences in SWB within the three groups were also explored. All participants completed the Personal Wellbeing Index-School Children (PWI-SC), which measures SWB. Mean SWB was significantly higher in the mainstream sample than in both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous 'at-risk' groups. However, within the at-risk adolescents, the Indigenous sample scored higher than the non-Indigenous. In the mainstream sample, male and female SWB did not significantly differ, whereas males scored higher than females in both at-risk groups-with males scoring higher on all seven PWI-SC domains. Finally, in all three samples, a decline in SWB from early to mid-adolescence was observed. This suggests that mid-adolescence is a challenging time for all young people as they approach adulthood. The implications of this research for educational and government policy concerning youths in Australia is discussed. For example, the importance of obtaining normative data that will assist in the identification of young people who are most at-risk for experiencing low personal wellbeing and who are in the greatest need of support. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

History

Journal

Journal of happiness studies

Volume

16

Issue

4

Pagination

813 - 837

Publisher

Springer

Location

Berlin, Germany

ISSN

1389-4978

eISSN

1573-7780

Language

eng

Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal