The Good Childhood Report 2016 UK

Date: 6th September 2016
Category: Best interests of the child, Mental health

The Children's Society's annual state-of-the-nation review of young people's well-being finds an estimated 283,000 girls aged 10-15 say they are not happy with their lives overall - one in seven of all girls in that age group.

The Good Childhood Report 2016 is the fifth in-depth study into children's well-being across the UK. Over the last decade, 60,000 children have been asked how they feel about their lives.

Main findings from the 2016 report found that:

  • There is a growing gap in happiness between girls and boys;
  • Girls are less happy than they used to be - more 10 to 15-year old girls unhappy with their lives over a five-year period;
  • Children's direct experiences affect their well-being more than factors further removed from them.

The reasons for the widening gender gap are unclear, but the report does find that emotional bullying such as name-calling, which girls are more likely to experience, is twice as common as physical bullying, which is more likely to affect boys. About half of all children aged 10 to 15 had been bullied at school in the past month, the report finds.

The report also highlights the clear link between unhappiness and mental health problems, underlining the importance of tackling low well-being to address mental ill-health. Boys and girls experience mental health problems in different ways. While boys aged 10 and 11 are less happy than girls with their school work and more likely to experience conduct and attention/hyperactivity problems, girls experience anxiety and depression significantly more than boys - and become increasingly unhappy with their appearance - as they get older.