Life satisfaction of adolescents: a cross-cultural study in malta and Australia

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Borg, Victoria (2005) Life satisfaction of adolescents: a cross-cultural study in malta and Australia. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


Life satisfaction research among adolescents is scarce especially at cross-cultural levels. The nature and the means to attain life satisfaction vary from one culture to another (Bradley & Corwyn, 2004; Lu & Shih, 1997). The current study examined life satisfaction in native Maltese, Maltese-Australian, and Anglo-Australian adolescents. It is argued that adolescents of Maltese origin come from a culture that is still predominantly oriented towards a traditional and collectivistic oriented culture, thereby being significantly different from the Australian culture. Besides developmental challenges, these adolescents are faced with additional cultural challenges especially Maltese-Australian adolescents. The present investigation was carried out over two stages. During the first stage, in-depth individual interviews were conducted among native Maltese (N=20) and Maltese-Australian (N=18) adolescents. These interviews explored issues that related to the home environment, social support, and coping strategies. In addition, ethnic identity and ethnic identification were explored among Maltese-Australian adolescents. The nature of the relationship and the support received from parents was a key element in detracting from their life satisfaction. In the second stage, a questionnaire was administered to native Maltese (N=113), Maltese-Australian (N=108), and Anglo-Australian adolescents (N=111). The questionnaire comprised these scales: the Family Environment Scale Form R, Short Form Social Support Questionnaire, Adolescent Coping Scale, and Satisfaction with Life Scale. For Maltese-Australian adolescents, the Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure was also included in the questionnaire. According to the findings of the second phase, most adolescents were satisfied with life and there was no significant difference between the groups. Results also indicated that overall, male adolescents reported higher levels of life satisfaction with life than females but there was no interaction between gender and ethnic group. Regression analysis showed that the experiences of life satisfaction are similar for these two groups. In addition, the results indicated that different patterns of predictors of life satisfaction emerged for the three ethnic groups. The three models showed that a significant amount of variances remained unaccounted for by the current predictors. However, the qualitative study shed more light on these findings. Although both studies contributed significantly to our understanding of the experiences of life satisfaction of adolescents across cultures, more research is required, especially among adolescents of Maltese origin.

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Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 2002 Cultural Studies
Historical > FOR Classification > 1701 Psychology
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Keywords Life satisfaction, Adolescents, Cross-cultural studies, Maltese, Maltese-Australians, Anglo Australians
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