Subjective well-being of children in residential care centers: Comparison between children in institutional care and children living with their families
Most of studies with children in residential care centers in Brazil emphasize the problems associated with being in care but few investigate the well-being of these children. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate and compare the subjective well-being of children in residential care centers versus those from the general population living with their families. Subjects were two hundred and eighteen children, ages 8 to 12 (M = 10.06; SD = 1.40). Half of them are under residential care and half are living with their families. Discriminant analysis was performed using as independent variables the seven PWI-SC items, the eight GDSI domains and the OLS single-item scale, and as dependent variable the group in which the children belong (foster care/families). Results indicate that all items significantly discriminated towards children living with their families. We argue that differences may be related to transitions and life experiences prior to institutionalization. Children with fewer changes manage to maintain their social bonds and find greater consistency in care, which seems to influence their sense of well-being. We conclude that the promotion of well-being must aim at forms of care involving greater stability.