Parent–child discrepancies in the assessment of children’s and adolescents’ happiness

Belén López-Pérez, Ellie L. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, we assessed parent–child agreement in the perception of children’s general happiness or well-being in typically developing children (10- and 11-year-olds, n = 172) and adolescents (15- and 16-year-olds, n = 185). Despite parent and child reporters providing internally consistent responses in the General Happiness single-item scale and the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire–Short Form, their perceptions about children’s and adolescents’ general happiness did not correlate. Parents of 10- and 11-year-olds significantly overestimated children’s happiness, supporting previous literature on the parents’ positivity bias effect. However, parents of 15- and 16-year-olds showed the reverse pattern by underestimating adolescents’ happiness. Furthermore, parents’ self-reported happiness or well-being (reported 6 months later) significantly correlated with their estimations of children’s and adolescents’ happiness. Therefore, these results suggest a potential parents’ “egocentric bias” when estimating their children’s happiness. These findings are discussed in terms of their theoretical and applied implications for research into child–parent relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-255
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


  • happiness
  • parent-report
  • child-report
  • positivity bias
  • egocentric bias
  • emotions assessment


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