Flourishing reflects positive mental health and thriving and is important for children's development and well-being. Few national studies of flourishing among school-aged children exist. Exposure to socioeconomic disadvantage is negatively associated with social and health outcomes, including flourishing. This analysis describes independent associations of the child, family, school, and neighborhood factors with flourishing, which we hypothesized may contribute to sociodemographic disparities.
Data from the 2011–2012 National Survey of Children's Health were used to examine parental perception of flourishing among school-aged children (6–17 years of age; n = 59,362). Flourishing was defined as curiosity about learning, resilience, and self-regulation. Unadjusted and adjusted associations between sociodemographic, child, family, school and neighborhood factors and flourishing were explored using χ2 tests and sequential logistic regression models.
Overall, 48.4% of school-aged children were perceived by parents to be flourishing. There were significant sociodemographic disparities with non-Hispanic black children (37.4%) and those below the federal poverty level (37.9%) among the least likely to flourish. After adjustment, sex, race/ethnicity, parent education, child's age, physical activity, special health care needs status, adequate sleep, adverse childhood experiences, family meals, hours of television watched, extracurricular activities, school safety, neighborhood safety, neighborhood support, and presence of amenities were significantly associated with flourishing (p < 0.05). Disparities by poverty level and household structure were no longer significant.
Addressing factors associated with parent-perceived flourishing including child, family, school and neighborhood factors such as physical activity, adequate sleep, and school/neighborhood safety may promote flourishing and reduce disparities.