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Keywords:

  • optimism;
  • satisfaction;
  • perceived happiness;
  • Palestinian children;
  • war;
  • political and military violence;
  • protective factors;
  • adjustment to traumas;
  • cross-sectional study

Scand J Caring Sci; 2012; 26; 467–473

‘My happiness is the refugee camp, my future Palestine’: optimism, life satisfaction and perceived happiness in a group of Palestinian children

Background:  This study aimed to explore optimism, perceived happiness and life satisfaction in a group of Palestinian children living in urban districts, rural areas and a refugee camp in the West Bank, as well as in a city in Israel.

Method:  Three self-report instruments were administered to a convenience sample of school-age children (n. 226; 8–12 years old): the Youth Life Orientation Test (YLOT), the Subjective Happiness Scale (SHS) and the Face Scale (FS). The scores were analyzed using anovas and correlation tests (Pearson’s r). Gender and age differences were explored.

Results:  Optimism, life satisfaction and perceived happiness characterize the entire group of Palestinian children in general. Very little difference was found as a function of gender.

Conclusion:  Palestinian children seem to enjoy a satisfactory quality of life with regard to optimism, satisfaction and perceived happiness. We hypothesize that these factors may reinforce resilience and positive adjustment to trauma in children. The implications for clinical psychology are discussed.