A review of measurement tools for child wellbeing

Esther Yin Nei Cho*, Fuk Yuen Yu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


There have been increasing efforts to monitor the wellbeing of children around the world using systematic tools, such as indicators and indices. Invaluable lessons for the development of such tools can be drawn from reviewing existing work. This study aimed to review peer-reviewed articles and studies on child wellbeing measurement tools published between 2000 and 2019, focusing on conceptualization, measurement and data, and scoring and index construction. The results show that children tend to be examined broadly as a group and that relatively less attention is given to younger children or sub-groups of children with specific needs. Studies on subjective perspective wellbeing have gained momentum, especially in the last decade. With increasing recognition of children's rights, the rights-based approach is often adopted as a conceptual framework. There is variation in the selection of dimensions and indicators in studies that involve objective wellbeing, while domain-specific or overall life satisfaction and happiness, as well as the assessment of personal and social functioning across different domains, are typically covered in subjective wellbeing studies. Secondary or aggregate data are more common than primary data, while longitudinal studies are scarce. Different approaches to scoring and index construction reflect the progress and increasing sophistication of methodologies. Issues for consideration regarding tool development are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105576
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • Child wellbeing
  • Child wellbeing index
  • Child wellbeing indicators
  • Measurement tool
  • Objective wellbeing
  • Quality of life
  • Subjective wellbeing


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