Parent-children discrepancies in the assessment of children’s and adolescents’ happiness

Lopez-Perez, B. and Wilson, E. (2015) Parent-children discrepancies in the assessment of children’s and adolescents’ happiness. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 139. pp. 249-255. ISSN 00220965

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In this study we assessed parent-child agreement in the perception of a child’s general happiness or well-being in typically developing children (10-11 years-olds; N = 172) and adolescents (15-16 years-olds; N = 185). Despite parent and child reporters providing internally consistent responses in the General Happiness single-item scale and the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire-short form, their perceptions about children’s and adolescents’ general happiness did not correlate. Parents of 10-11 year-olds significantly overestimated children’s happiness, supporting previous literature on the parents’ positivity bias effect. However, parents of 15-16 year-olds showed the reverse pattern, as they underestimated adolescents’ happiness. Furthermore, parents’ self-reported happiness or well-being (reported six months later) significantly correlated with their estimations of children’s and adolescents’ happiness. Therefore, these results suggest a potential parents’ egocentric bias when estimating their children’s happiness. These findings are discussed in terms of their theoretical and applied implications for research into child-parent relationships.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: “NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in The Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, VOL 139, (November 2015) available at
Keywords: happiness; parent-report; child-report; positivity bias; egocentric bias.
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Science > Psychology
Depositing User: Belen Lopez-Perez
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2017 14:05
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2017 14:05

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