Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 841–861 | Cite as

Children’s Wellbeing at School: A Multi-dimensional and Multi-informant Approach

  • Valentina TobiaEmail author
  • Andrea Greco
  • Patrizia Steca
  • Gian Marco Marzocchi
Research Paper


Based on a multi-dimensional model of wellbeing in school that includes psychological, cognitive and social components, the aim of this investigation was to (a) analyse differences based on gender and school level (primary or middle school) in children’s subjective reports of their school wellbeing, (b) analyse correlates of subjective school wellbeing considering learning skills, grades and behavioural problems, and (c) investigate parents’ and teachers’ personal experiences and observations related to children with a low level of subjective school wellbeing. The sample comprised 1038 third- to eighth-grade students who completed the Questionnaire on School Wellbeing (QBS; Tobia and Marzocchi in QBS 8-13. Questionari per la valutazione del benessere scolastico e identificazione dei fattori di rischio [QBS 8-13. Questionnaires for the evaluation of school wellbeing and the identification of risk factors], Erickson, Trento, 2015a), which investigates the gratification obtained by results in school, relationships with teachers and classmates, emotional attitude towards school, and self-efficacy. The results showed significant gender differences (e.g., a better relationship with teachers but a poorer emotional attitude towards school for girls) and lower scores on school wellbeing in middle school students compared to primary school students. Among primary school students, wellbeing tended to be positively influenced by learning skills, whereas it was positively influenced by grades and negatively influenced by behavioural problems among middle school students. Finally, both parents and teachers of children with low levels of school wellbeing described greater feelings of worry, guilt, and tension in relation to the children’s difficulties. Parents reported more learning and emotional difficulties in these children, whereas teachers reported lower self-awareness. These results may offer insights to inform school policies and interventions aimed at improving children’s wellbeing.


School wellbeing Child wellbeing Primary school Middle school Multi-informant questionnaire 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This study was conducted in a manner consistent with the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles (1982) and the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from participants.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Milan-BicoccaMilanItaly
  2. 2.Department of Human and Social SciencesUniversity of BergamoBergamoItaly
  3. 3.Centro per l’Età EvolutivaBergamoItaly

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