What do you need to be happy? - Children’s perspectives

Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Details

Interim status: Citation only.

Sargeant, Jonathon (2007). What do you need to be happy? - Children’s perspectives. Paper presented at the Children and Young People are Key Stakeholders (CAYPAKS) Conference, Perth.

Copyright © CAYPAKS, 2007.


This paper presents a discussion of the common findings of three discrete studies conducted in 1997, 2002, and 2006 exploring the perspectives of young Australian children aged between 8 and 14.

Using a questionnaire format children were asked to nominate answers to a range of open-ended questions. This paper details and discusses the children's responses to the question, 'what do you need to be happy?'

In responding to this question, the children identify specific conditions for happiness; safety, security, and personal wellbeing. Notably, there was a dearth of responses that refer to the material world. Of key interest is the altruistic nature of the children's responses and the specific nomination of interpersonal relationships as being critical to their sense of happiness.

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