Measuring Child Well-Being in Bangladesh: Are Self-Reported Measures of Well-Being Reliable and Valid?

Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Haridhan GOSWAMI, Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom
M. Ibrahim KHALIL, Government Brojomohan College, Bangladesh
The growing recognition of children and young people’s rights for having a good childhood and good future life chances, coupled with the injunction from the New Sociology of Childhood to consult with children and young people as active agents have resulted in an increasing number of studies on children and young people's well-being at national and international levels. However, developing reliable and valid measures of well-being suitable for comparative study is still considered as one of the major challenges for research with children and young people from different countries. This paper discusses the limitations and advantages of some measures of well-being using data from a survey in Bangladesh—one of the developing countries in South Asia. This study in Bangladesh is administered as part of the 3rd Wave of the Children’s Worlds International Survey on Children’s Well-Being (ISCWeB). In this paper, we will focus on the reliability and validity of both overall and domain specific measures of well-being.

Data for this paper are obtained from over 3000 primary and secondary school children (aged between 8 and 15 years) living in three large cities in Bangladesh. Exploratory factor analysis is carried out to examine the factor structure of the multiple-item measures of overall and domain specific well-being. Then Cronbach’s Alpha is computed to examine the reliability of the scales. Finally, convergent, discriminant and criterion validity of the scales are assessed by testing the relations of these scales with other theoretically relevant variables e.g., age, gender, satisfaction with health, pro-social behaviour, emotional symptom, and self-esteem. These findings are discussed in the context of previous empirical studies on child well-being carried out in both developing and developed countries. Suggestions for future comparative research are also put forward.