Trajectories of adolescent life satisfaction

Amy Orben*, Richard E. Lucas, Delia Fuhrmann, Rogier A. Kievit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Increasing global policy interest in measuring and improving population wellbeing has prompted academic investigations into the dynamics of lifespan life satisfaction. Yet little research has assessed the complete adolescent age range, although it harbours developmental changes that could affect wellbeing far into adulthood. This study investigates how life satisfaction develops throughout the whole of adolescence, and compares this development to that in adulthood, by applying exploratory and confirmatory latent growth curve modelling to UK and German data, respectively (37 076 participants, 10-24 years). We find a near universal decrease in life satisfaction during adolescence. This decrease is steeper than at any other point across adulthood. Further, our findings suggest that adolescent girls' life satisfaction is lower than boys', but that this difference does not extend into adulthood. The study highlights the importance of studying adolescent subjective wellbeing trajectories to inform research, policy and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number211808
JournalRoyal Society open science
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2022


  • adolescents
  • latent growth models
  • life satisfaction
  • lifespan development
  • sex differences
  • subjective wellbeing


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