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Younger and Dissatisfied? Relative Age and Life-satisfaction in Adolescence

Fumarco, Luca and Baert, Stijn (2018): Younger and Dissatisfied? Relative Age and Life-satisfaction in Adolescence.

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Abstract

This is the first study to investigate whether age gaps between classmates (that is, relative age) affect life-satisfaction gaps in adolescence. To this end, we analyse data from the multi-country Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) survey. We find evidence that relative age negatively impacts adolescents’ life-satisfaction. A twelve-month age gap decreases life-satisfaction, rated on a 0-10 scale, by 0.3 points. This negative effect is consistent across countries. Finally, this negative effect does not decrease with the increase in absolute age.

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