This article analyzes the subjective well-being and satisfaction with the use of free time of 1,033 Chilean children (49.1% girls) aged 9 to 14 years of whom 568 attend a public after-school Program and 465 do not. The satisfaction levels of participants in the Program are also assessed. All of the children are living in contexts of high social vulnerability, and they attend municipal schools. Well-being scales previously validated in Chile and free-time use items internationally used were applied here. The scales' fit and score equivalence between groups were evaluated with a confirmatory factor analysis and multi-group structural equations analysis. The overall results show that children in both groups presented high levels of subjective well-being. Although the majority of those attending the Program had higher scores, the differences did not reach statistical significance. With the more specific analysis, the children attending the Program showed significantly higher scores in some subjective well-being aspects. They also felt happier and more satisfied with their use of free time compared to the group not attending the Program. The results also indicated high satisfaction with the Program, a significant correlation between Program participation, and a greater diversity of activities pursued outside of the classroom. The impact of socio-demographic variables such as age and gender were analyzed using multiple regression. The effect of public initiatives on children's well-being is discussed in light of the scant research currently available in the field. Two other points are discussed as well. Specifically, the results of this research may add to the knowledge around child subjective well-being. The use of subjective well-being indicators when evaluating public policies in support of childhood is also addressed.
- Public policies
- Subjective well-being - childhood- after-school programs
- Use of free time
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science