Subjective Well-Being and Related Factors among Children from Economically Disadvantaged Families during the COVID– 19 Pandemic
自 2019 年起，新型冠狀病毒（COVID–19）疫情席捲全球，並劇 烈影響全體人類生活，臺灣於 2021 年 5 月也因疫情首度關閉學校， 改為線上學習，此改變對於學習資源本已經相對匱乏的經濟弱勢兒童 更顯脆弱，故探究他們於疫情期間的福祉與生活狀況有其必要性。本 研究以臺灣世界展望會服務之經濟弱勢兒童為對象，透過網路問卷的 方式於 2021 年 7 月至 9 月間進行調查，共獲得 1,423 名 10 到 12 歲 經濟弱勢兒童的資料。本研究主要發現有二：（一）經濟弱勢兒童於 疫情期間之主觀福祉，的確顯著低於疫情前之主觀福祉；（二）在控 制了疫情前的主觀福祉得分後，經濟弱勢兒童於疫情期間與家人、朋 友的關係越好、對自己打發時間的方式越滿意，在網路課程時連線問題發生的頻率越低、越不想回到學校上課，以及對於疫情擔心程度越 低的孩子，則其主觀福祉得分越高。本研究針對此發現提出相關建 議，提醒大家重視兒童的人際網絡，並致力於提升保護經濟弱勢家庭 韌力的防禦因子，以利其面對風險社會下的種種威脅。
The COVID–19 outbreak has significantly impacted the life of people globally since 2020. Children are particularly vulnerable because of their limited understanding and resources to cope with the pandemic, and this was particularly true when all schools in Taiwan were closed in May of 2021. Closure of schools forces children to face substantial changes to their routines and to separate from friends. They cannot hang out with their friends, or have sports activities on the playground, which inevitably causes stress and anxiety in children. Some studies have found that children were more likely to experience fears, uncertainties, and physical and social isolation. The economically disadvantaged children in those studies, other than the aforementioned problems, also tended to have limited resources for remote online learning, which amplified their difficulties. In addition, their parents are at a higher risk of job loss and financial stress, which increases the risk of child abuse or neglect. Therefore, it is important to examine the subjective well-being of economically disadvantaged children during the pandemic. Previous studies found that factors related to their family and school lives during the pandemic have an impact on their well-being. Based on these findings, this study has three goals: 1) to compare the subjective well-being of economically disadvantaged children before and during the pandemic. 2) To examine, after controlling for their levels of subjective well-being before the pandemic, the effects of parent-child relationships, peer relationships, learning experiences during school closure, their eagerness to go back to school, satisfaction with free time they can use during the pandemic, whether their parents’ jobs were affected by the pandemic, and the extent to which they worry about the effects of the pandemic on their well-being.
As part of the International Survey of Children’s Well-Being, COVID– 19 Supplement, 2021, this study sampled economically disadvantaged children from World Vision Taiwan, an NPO serving economically disadvantaged families nationwide. An online, self-report questionnaire was conducted from July to September 2021, and took approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete. A total of 1,423 children aged 10 to 12 participated in this study (56.2% are girls, and the proportion of each age group was divided equally, with 33.6%, 32%, and 34.4% for each age group). Participants were compensated with a $50 NTD gift card after completion of the survey. The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board at National Taiwan University, and online informed consent was obtained from all participants and their parents or legal guardians.
Major findings of this study include: 1) As expected, the subjective well-being of economically disadvantaged children was worse during the pandemic, as the mean of their subjective well-being was 6.39 (SD = 2.632) during the pandemic, while the mean score was 8.11 (SD = 2.276) before the pandemic, and the difference was statistically significant. 2) The subjective well-being of economically disadvantaged children during the pandemic was affected by different factors. For those who had good relationships with family members and peers, and were more satisfied with the way they could use their time freely during the pandemic, their subjective well-being was better, while for those who encountered more problems during online learning, wanted to go back to school, and worried about the pandemic, their subjective well-being was worse. Our results suggest that related professionals and policy makers should provide assistance to economically disadvantaged children, and try to establish personal and community resilience to help them cope with the unpredictable risks they face.