That awkward age: Children, well-being and charities

In 2011, NPC developed a Well-being Measure. This online survey-based tool enables charities to measure changes in the well-being of their young beneficiaries, allowing them to develop their interventions to ensure a greater impact on the lives of young people.

The tool also allows NPC to view the anonymised data collected by the Well-being Measure over 2011–2015. This means we can look in detail at children’s happiness and well-being at some of the most formative moments of their lives, including the transition from primary to secondary education, and as they head towards the end of their teenage years and into adulthood.

This paper draws on data on the well-being of over 8,000 children, collected by over 100 schools and charities. It presents key findings including:

  • Girls are less happy than boys
    1 in 4 boys (26%), and 1 in 3 girls (35%), report their overall well-being as average or lower.
  • Well-being falls as children get older
    This fall is steepest between 13-14yrs and 16-17yrs. It is also steeper for girls than boys.
  • Boys don’t cry—but girls report crying more as they get older
    More than half girls say they ‘cry a lot’ by age 15 (53%). Only 14% boys by age 15 say the same.
  • Children’s resilience is essential
    Children’s resilience—‘the capacity to cope with stress and difficulties’—becomes more important with age, as the older they get the more closely it is associated with their overall well-being.

This report also provides recommendations to charities working to improve the well-being of young people in the UK.