28 February, 2014
The Liberal Art University in Hong Kong
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Hong Kong children from Primary 4 to Secondary 3 were happier in 2013 with their happiness index standing at 7.23, evidently higher than 6.91 in 2012, according to results of the latest survey conducted by the Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS) of Lingnan University announced on 17 February.

However, the encouraging result was tempered by declines in the Insight and Fortitude scores, two of the four key determinants of happiness, namely Love, Insight, Fortitude and Engagement (LIFE). In 2013, Hong Kong children’s Insight score fell to 6.19 from 6.37 in 2012, while Fortitude dropped to 6.64 from 7.10 during the same period.

Pressures from schoolwork and extra-curricular activities also have a significant adverse impact on children’s happiness. Respondents who reported high pressure in schoolwork have a happiness score of 5.04, much lower than that of those who reported low schoolwork pressure, whose happiness score stands at 7.96. Children who said they face high pressure in extra-curricular activities only reported a happiness index at 5.52, compared to 7.27 of those who reported low pressure. The evidence shows that such pressures undermine the quality of family life, leading to disharmony at home and unhappiness among children.

In addition to pressures from schoolwork and extra-curricular activities, rebukes, beatings and the perceived financial well-being of the family also contribute to family disharmony, which is negatively associated with parents’ education level. This means children of parents with less education are more likely to experience family disharmony.

Commissioned by the Hong Kong Early Childhood Development Research Foundation, this survey has collected a total of 1,119 student questionnaires (377 primary and 742 secondary) and 1,060 parent questionnaires (361 primary and 699 secondary) from eight primary schools and 12 secondary schools across Hong Kong from September to October 2013. The Public Governance Programme of Lingnan University offered assistance in conducting the survey.

For full results of the survey, please visit: http://www.ln.edu.hk/news/20140217/children_happiness_index_2014.