Academic journal article Journal of Economics and Economic Education Research

Conditions Associated with Adolescents' Happiness in Oecd Countries

Academic journal article Journal of Economics and Economic Education Research

Conditions Associated with Adolescents' Happiness in Oecd Countries

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Numerous efforts have been made to define and redefine the concept of adolescents' happiness in the context of adolescent indicators. Much of this effort is rooted in Western culture in developed countries. Recently, in particular, in the social science academia there have been active researches on happiness, and especially studies on the happiness of children-adolescents are gathering a wide range of interest. Studies on the happiness of adolescent that were initiated in a worldwide scale by international organizations such as the United Nations Children's Fund(UNICEF) and further accelerated following the enactment of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child in 1989. Also the children-adolescent happiness index was recognized of its importance as a basis for confirming policy objectives and inspecting accomplishments, and accordingly many researchers and organizations around the globe are conducting similar studies at present.(Ben-Arieh, 2006; Choi, 2015). An increase in such studies on children or adolescent groups reflect the rising international interest of happiness. Especially according to recent studies the happiness during one's early stages of life also influences one's overall happiness even after he or she becomes an adult(Yang, 2008), and so its importance is even further emphasized.

In this context a UNICEF study conducted in 2006 organized the children-adolescent happiness index into 6 categories: 'Material Well-Being', 'Health and Safety', 'Education', 'Peer and Family Relationship', 'Subjective Well-Being', and 'Behaviour and Risk'. This study then reorganized these categories into 18 components and 40 indicators in order to measure happiness. In specific, the 'Material Well-Being' section was formed of relative poverty, unemployed households, deficiency, the 'Health and Safety' section was of infant health, vaccination and accidental deaths, and the 'Education' section was of scholastic achievement, education participation and the changeover to employment. The 'Peer and Family Relationship' section was formed of family structures, parent relationships and peer relationships, the 'Subjective Well-Being' section was of health, school life and individual happiness, and the 'Behaviour and Risk' section was of health behaviour, risk behaviour and violence experiences. Therefore the children-adolescent happiness is based on a multifaceted index that can reflect its relational complexity with life(Park Jong-Il, Park Chang-Woong, Seo Hyo-Jeong, Yeom Yoo-Shik, 2010; UNICEF, 2006).

As was seen, UNICEF(2006) thought it appropriate to take a multifaceted approach towards the happiness of adolescents and endeavored to measure it. However even out of these measuring indexes the 'Education' section is a crucial factor in that the main developmental task of an adolescent is one's school learning and that the educational environment one is exposed to can determine his or her happiness, well-being and even future.(UNICEF, 2006). Considering this, a more specific and integrated approach is required to understand the happiness of adolescents. Nevertheless the education section covered by UNICEF is only formed of scholastic achievement, education participation and the changeover to employment. This only covers a narrow range and thus can only reflect a limited amount of the environmental characteristics of the education of adolescents.

As a response, this study recognizes the need for research and will reorganize the educational factors that influence the happiness of adolescents into the percentage of educational expenses(the percentage of educational expenditure out of the per capita GDP), the per capita educational expenditure amount, ratio of students to teaching staff, educational decentralization level, school life satisfaction level, and the academic maintenance percentage. The goal of this study is to clarify the structural relationship between these variables and happiness, and to discover combinations of conditions affecting happiness of adolescents. …

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