Gender Differences in Happiness and Life Satisfaction Among Adolescents in Hong Kong : Relationships and Self-Concept

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1035-1051
Journal / PublicationSocial Indicators Research
Issue number3
Online published14 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016


This study uses survey data from adolescents (N = 1,428) in Hong Kong to test the association of gender with happiness and life satisfaction through relationship style and self-concept. While self-esteem and purpose in life are associated with higher happiness and life satisfaction, having more close friends is related to higher happiness, but not necessarily life satisfaction. On the other hand, boys with higher academic achievement are happier, but not more satisfied; the opposite holds true for girls. Our results provide a much-needed investigation of the differential effect of gender on the subjective well-being of adolescents. Contributing to the theoretical debate about the concepts of subjective well-being, we argue that happiness and life satisfaction are empirically and conceptually distinct. Life satisfaction might be characterized by more profound enjoyment and achievement in life than happiness.

Research Area(s)

  • Adolescents, Gender, Happiness, Life satisfaction, Purpose in life, Self-esteem