Parental anxiety about the state of the economy and job losses could have a major impact on children's happiness, the Children's Society has warned.

Children in households that have suffered a drop in income over the past year were more than twice as likely (15%) to experience low levels of happiness as those in homes where income had risen (7%).

The research, conducted between October 2010 and February 2011, looked at the experiences of 4,000 children in the UK aged between eight and 15 years old. It also looked at how parental worries had an impact on children's happiness.

Children whose parents rated themselves as "very concerned" about the economy were 5% more likely to report low well-being (13%) than those whose parents were unconcerned by the economic situation (8%).

The poll also showed a clear difference between happiness levels in children living in the top and lowest social classes.

In the lowest social class, 18% of children said they had low well-being compared to 6% in the top social class.

Bob Reitemeier, chief executive of the Children's Society, said: "The findings are deeply concerning for everybody who has the interests of Britain's children at heart. As the spending cuts take hold, the well-being of our children is under threat. The consequences are likely to hit the most vulnerable children hardest.

"We fear that they will pay a life-long economic and social price for current political decisions. It is vital that when local and national government make cuts that affect our children's lives, wellbeing must be prioritised, not forgotten."