Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 1165–1177 | Cite as

Association Between Adolescent Eudaimonic Behaviours and Emotional Competence in Young Adulthood

  • W. T. HallamEmail author
  • C. A. Olsson
  • M. O’Connor
  • M. Hawkins
  • J. W. Toumbourou
  • G. Bowes
  • R. McGee
  • A. Sanson
Research Paper


The role of Aristotelian eudaimonic (moral) values in healthy psychosocial development is a rapidly growing area of enquiry that crosses the disciplines of philosophy and developmental psychology. The purpose of this study was to examine prospective relationships between adolescence eudaimonic values development and indicators of emotional competence and psychopathology in young adulthood. We tested two related hypotheses: (1) that eudaimonic behaviours in adolescence (indicated by activities aimed at benefiting other individuals, the community or society) would predict greater emotional competence in young adulthood (indicated by sense of responsibility, autonomy, planfulness and self-control); and (2) that emotional competence in young adulthood would reduce risk for anxious-depressive symptoms at the same age after controlling for prior emotional distress in adolescence. Data were drawn from an on-going 15 wave population-based longitudinal study of health and development, initially recruited at birth in 1983. SEM was used to model relationships and was based on data from 991 participants (384 male and 607 female). Consistent with expectations, adolescent eudaimonic behaviours were associated with higher emotional competence in young adulthood which, in turn, was inversely associated with anxious-depressive symptoms at the same age. Interventions that focus on opportunities for the eudaimonic development in adolescence may play a role in promoting emotional competence in emerging adulthood.


Adolescence Emerging adulthood Emotional competence Wellbeing Eudaimonia Cohort studies 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. T. Hallam
    • 1
    • 6
    Email author
  • C. A. Olsson
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • M. O’Connor
    • 1
  • M. Hawkins
    • 1
  • J. W. Toumbourou
    • 2
    • 4
  • G. Bowes
    • 1
  • R. McGee
    • 5
  • A. Sanson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PaediatricsUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Murdoch Children’s Research InstituteMelbourne Royal Children’s HospitalMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Psychological SciencesUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.Prevention Sciences, School of Psychology and Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing ResearchDeakin UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  5. 5.Preventive and Social MedicineUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  6. 6.Department of PaediatricsRoyal Children’s HospitalParkvilleAustralia

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