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International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health

Editor-in-Chief: Merrick, Joav

Editorial Board: Birch, Diana ML / Blum, Robert W. / Greydanus, MD, Dr. HC (Athens), Donald E. / Hardoff, Daniel / Kerr, Mike / Levy, Howard B / Morad, Mohammed / Omar, Hatim A. / de Paul, Joaquin / Rydelius, Per-Anders / Shek, Daniel T.L. / Sher, Leo / Silber, Tomas J. / Towns, Susan / Urkin, Jacob / Verhofstadt-Deneve, Leni / Zeltzer, Lonnie / Tenenbaum, Ariel

CiteScore 2018: 0.79

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Does an association exist between socio-economic status and subjective physical, mental and social well-being among early adolescents?

Katrin SteinvoordORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3060-3369 / Astrid Junge
Published Online: 2019-10-07 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2019-0090



It is well known that the socio-economic status (SES) has a great impact on adult and childhood well-being. Comparatively little research has been conducted on the relationship of adolescents’ subjective well-being to SES. Recent studies though, display a tendency for a strong relationship between adolescences’ subjective physical, mental and social well-being to SES. We therefore wanted to find out whether an association exists between SES and subjective physical, mental and social well-being among adolescents as well as between SES and individual school marks.


The cross-sectional data of 450 German adolescent students (average age 11 years old) were analysed. The data included socio-demographic variables, school marks and selected subscales of three well-established questionnaires [KIDSCREEN, Kid-Kindl® and the German version of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ-deu)]. The Hamburg Social School Index (HSSI) was used as an indicator of SES.


Significant differences between SES and physical (T = −2.04; p < 0.05) as well as social well-being (‘Social Support and Peers’ with T = −2.04; p < 0.05) of adolescents were found. Generally, no relations between SES and mental well-being were found. School marks also differed between low and high school SES [German (T = 3.13; p < 0.05), English (T = 5.38; p < 0.01), Mathematics (T = 3.16; p < 0.05) and Sports (T = 2.10; p < 0.05)].


As health in adolescence is a predictor for health in adulthood, health promotion and prevention need to start early (primary school) to improve physical and social well-being in low SES families and schools.

Keywords: adolescents; socio-economic status; subjective health


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About the article

Received: 2019-04-26

Accepted: 2019-07-14

Published Online: 2019-10-07

Conflict of interest: The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Funding: This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Citation Information: International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 20190090, ISSN (Online) 2191-0278, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2019-0090.

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