Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 1049–1062 | Cite as

The Role of Positive Psychology Constructs in Predicting Mental Health and Academic Achievement in Children and Adolescents: A Two-Year Longitudinal Study

  • Susana C. MarquesEmail author
  • J. L. Pais-Ribeiro
  • Shane J. Lopez
Research Paper


This longitudinal study presents the first examination of the relation between positive psychology constructs, mental health and academic achievement of students in Portugal. Using a sample of 367 middle-school students, the study revealed that crosssectional and longitudinal patterns of correlations between positive variables were consistent with expectations for the most part and suggested that hope, life satisfaction and self-worth have meaningful relations with mental health and academic achievement. In addition, no significant changes were found between the variables in study across the administrations and throughout the two cohorts, and all the variables in study demonstrate moderate to high stability across a 1- and 2-year time frame. Hope predicts students’ academic achievement, and life satisfaction was the strongest predictor of mental health, over 2-years. The implications of the findings are discussed with reference to prior studies and for future research.


Academic achievement Children and adolescents Mental health Positive psychology variables 



This research was funded via a Foundation for the Science and Technology (FCT) grant obtained by the first author. We wish also to address our thanks to Dr. Joanna Mitchell (Monash University, Australia) for her comments on the manuscript and to Dr. Estela Vilhena (Porto University, Portugal) and Dr. Elena C. Papanastasiou (University of Nicosia, Cyprus) for their comments on the statistical analysis of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susana C. Marques
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. L. Pais-Ribeiro
    • 1
  • Shane J. Lopez
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Educational SciencesUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Clifton Strengths School and GallupOmahaUSA

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