Can happiness promote success?

Published

At ASDAN, we have recently started using NPC’s Wellbeing Measure for 11–16-year-olds, an online survey tool that asks students to assess their feelings about their lives at different points in time. It allows us to see, in a statistically robust way, the impact our programmes are having on different aspects of students’ well-being. We can also compare the feedback from different groups.

The measure was developed by NPC following a thorough review of the academic literature on well-being. It is now being used by schools and charities across the country, who are finding it to be an incredibly valuable way of understanding how their work impacts young people.

Ten UK schools are using this tool to measure the well-being of students at the beginning, middle and end of their ASDAN Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (CoPE) qualification. Each school will contribute to the overall report and receive their own data, including analysis of the impact of CoPE on their students. In line with ASDAN’s purpose of ‘providing opportunities for all learners to develop their personal and social attributes… through ASDAN awards’, we hope that this study will enhance schools’ understanding of the links between students’ personal development and their attainment in other areas.

The tool captures changes in eight aspects of well-being:

  • Self-esteem
    • A child’s appraisal of their own worth. It is closely linked with self-confidence and is important for a healthy, happy life.
  • Emotional well-being
    • The state of a child’s mental health or extent to which a child experiences depressive emotions, worries and other stressful feelings. Low scores are linked to anxiety and depression.
  • Resilience
    • The capacity to cope with stress and difficulties. It involves a positive and purposeful attitude to life and is associated with high self-esteem and interpersonal problem-solving skills. It is a particularly important protective factor to foster in children, enabling them to deal well with future negative events.
  • Satisfaction with friends
    • The child’s satisfaction or feelings about the quality of their close friendships, both in and out of school.
  • Satisfaction with family
    • The child’s satisfaction or feelings about their family relationships, including the quality and quantity of time spent with parents or carers, and how well the family gets on.
  • Satisfaction with community
    • The child’s satisfaction or feelings about their local area and neighbours/people in the community.
  • Satisfaction with school 
    • The child’s satisfaction or feelings about their school environment, including how enjoyable and interesting it is, and how safe it feels.
  • Life satisfaction
    • A global measure of a child’s overall happiness or satisfaction, based on a single question where the child rates their life on a scale of 0 to 10.

We hope the work will provide solid evidence of what many centres have already told us – that CoPE really does help young people to become happier and more confident. We are looking forward to sharing the results of the follow-up survey later in 2013. For more information on the Well-being Measure, visit www.well-beingmeasure.com.