Empirical evidence on life satisfaction of care leavers is scant and often based on small and nonrepresentative samples. Based on the life course perspective, this study explored the role of objective and subjective factors in explaining life satisfaction among care leavers, both general and domain-specific (work-financial-housing, social relationships–emotional state). The sample was randomly drawn from the whole population of eight graduating birth cohorts of alumni of educational residential care in Israel and consists of 2, 295 alumni (24–31 years old). The study is based on an extensive set of longitudinal administrative records combined with structured phone interviews. Bivariate analysis and multiple regression models were used to assess associations between precare context, in-care and postcare experiences and achievements with general and domain-specific life satisfaction. Gender differences were found in both domain-specific life satisfactions with men having greater satisfaction. Family background indicators were generally more predictive of general and social relationships-emotional state satisfaction. In-care experiences of peer and staff support and postcare experience of material deprivation were strong predictors of general and domain-specific life satisfaction. Postcare contacts with care staff, surprisingly, were associated with lower general satisfaction and satisfaction with social relationships-emotional state. Higher educational attainment at the end of placement and integration into postsecondary education were associated with greater general and work-financial-housing satisfaction. The effects of in-care preparation for independent adult living, employment and parenthood are not consistent across different domains of life satisfaction. Implications for policy and practice during and after care are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Psychology (miscellaneous)