Advertisement

Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 1255–1274 | Cite as

Unique Contributions of Positive Schemas for Understanding Child and Adolescent Life Satisfaction and Happiness

  • R. M. TomlinsonEmail author
  • L. Keyfitz
  • J. S. Rawana
  • M. N. Lumley
Research Paper

Abstract

Much research has examined negative cognitive schemas as associates of psychopathology. Although some research has established relations between positive cognitive schemas and psychopathology, little research has examined positive cognitive schemas in the context of well-being among children and adolescents. In the current study, contributions of positive schemas to two indicators of well-being, namely happiness and life satisfaction, were examined. Specifically we examined how positive schemas predict well-being beyond negative schemas, whether age and gender moderate the relations between positive schemas and well-being, and the contributions of specific positive schema themes to well-being. 282 child and adolescent boys (n = 122) and girls (n = 160) aged 8–18 (M = 13.37, SD = 2.18), completed measures of positive schemas, negative schemas, life satisfaction, and happiness. Results indicated that positive schemas related to life satisfaction and happiness beyond negative schemas, supporting the importance of examining positive schemas in models of well-being. Positive schemas were more strongly tied to happiness in older adolescents versus younger children, but the relations between positive schemas and life satisfaction did not vary as a function of age. Gender effects indicate that the relation between positive schemas and life satisfaction and happiness was stronger for females than for males. When the relative contributions of positive schema themes (i.e., trust, worthiness, optimism, success, self-efficacy) were explored in the prediction of life satisfaction and happiness, worthiness emerged as the strongest predictor. Results emphasize the importance of considering positive schemas in models of well-being among children and adolescents.

Keywords

Life satisfaction Happiness Positive schemas Worthiness 

References

  1. Abela, J. R. Z., & Hankin, B. L. (2008). Cognitive vulnerability to depression in children and adolescents: A developmental psychopathology perspective. In J. R. Z. Abela & B. L. Hankin (Eds.), Depression in children and adolescents (pp. 35–78). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  2. Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  3. Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84(2), 191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beck, A. T. (1967). Depression: Causes and treatment. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
  5. Beck, A. T. (1976). Cognitive therapy and the emotional disorders. New York, NY: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  6. Beck, A. T., Rush, A. J., Shaw, B. F., & Emery, G. (1979). Cognitive therapy of depression. New York, NY: Guilford.Google Scholar
  7. Beck, A. T., Brown, G., Steer, R. A., Eidelson, J. I., & Riskind, J. H. (1987). Differentiating anxiety from depression: A test of the cognitive content-specificity hypothesis. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 96, 179–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Burke, R. J., & Weir, T. (1978). Sex differences in adolescent life stress, social support, and well-being. Journal of Psychology, 98(2), 277–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Caprara, G. V., Steca, P., Gerbino, M., Paciello, M., & Vecchio, G. M. (2006). Looking for adolescents’ well-being: Self-efficacy beliefs as determinants of positive thinking and happiness. Epidemiologia E Psichiatria Sociale, 15(01), 30–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Casas, F., Sarriera, J. C., Alfaro, J., González, M., Malo, S., Bertran, I., et al. (2012). Testing the personal wellbeing index on 12–16 year-old adolescents in 3 different countries with 2 new items. Social Indicators Research, 105(3), 461–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Clark, D. A., Beck, A. T., & Stewart, B. L. (1990). Cognitive specificity and positive–negative affectivity: Complementary or contradictory views on anxiety and depression? Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 99, 148–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cummins, R. A., & Nistico, H. (2002). Maintaining life satisfaction: The role of positive cognitive bias. Journal of Happiness Studies, 3(1), 37–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dew, T., & Huebner, E. S. (1994). Adolescents’ perceived quality of life: An exploratory investigation. Journal of School Psychology, 32(2), 185–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Diener, E. (2000). Subjective well-being: The science of happiness and a proposal for a national index. American Psychologist, 55(1), 34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Diener, E., Sandvik, E., & Pavot, W. (1991). Happiness is the frequency, not the intensity, of positive versus negative affect. Subjective Well-Being: An Interdisciplinary Perspective, 21, 119–139.Google Scholar
  16. Diener, E., Oishi, S., & Lucas, R. E. (2003a). Personality, culture, and subjective well-being: Emotional and cognitive evaluations of life. Annual Review of Psychology, 54(1), 403–425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Diener, E., Scollon, C. N., & Lucas, R. E. (2003b). The evolving concept of subjective well-being: The multifaceted nature of happiness. Advances in Cell Aging and Gerontology, 15, 187–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Diener, E., Suh, E. M., Lucas, R. E., & Smith, H. L. (1999). Subjective well-being: Three decades of progress. Psychological Bulletin, 125(2), 276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dozois, D. J. A., & Beck, A. T. (2008). Cognitive schemas, beliefs, and assumptions. In K. S. Dobson & D. J. A. Dozois (Eds.), Risk factors in depression. Oxford: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  20. Friedmann, J. S., Lumley, M. N., & Lerman, B. (2016). Cognitive schemas as longitudinal predictors of self-reported adolescent depressive symptoms and resilience. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 45(1), 32–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Froh, J. J., Yurkewicz, C., & Kashdan, T. B. (2009). Gratitude and subjective well-being in early adolescence: Examining gender differences. Journal of Adolescence, 32(3), 633–650.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Funk, B. A, I. I. I., Huebner, E. S., & Valois, R. F. (2006). Reliability and validity of a brief life satisfaction scale with a high school sample. Journal of Happiness Studies, 7(1), 41–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Furnham, A., & Cheng, H. (2000). Perceived parental behaviour, self-esteem and happiness. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 35(10), 463–470.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Goldbeck, L., Schmitz, T. G., Besier, T., Herschbach, P., & Henrich, G. (2007). Life satisfaction decreases during adolescence. Quality of Life Research, 16(6), 969–979.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hankin, B. L., & Abramson, L. Y. (1999). Development of gender differences in depression: Description and possible explanations. Annals of Medicine, 31(6), 372–379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Holder, M. D., & Coleman, B. (2009). The contribution of social relationships to children’s happiness. Journal of Happiness Studies, 10(3), 329–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Holder, M. D., & Klassen, A. (2010). Temperament and happiness in children. Journal of Happiness Studies, 11(4), 419–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Holder, M. D., Coleman, B., & Wallace, J. M. (2010). Spirituality, religiousness, and happiness in children aged 8–12 years. Journal of Happiness Studies, 11, 131–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Holte, A., Barry, M. M., Bekkhus, M., Borge, A. I. H., Bowes, L., Casas, F., et al. (2014). Psychology of child well-being (pp. 555–631). Netherlands: Springer.Google Scholar
  30. Hope, T. L., Adams, C., Reynolds, L., Powers, D., Perez, R. A., & Kelley, M. L. (1999). Parent versus self-report: Contributions toward diagnosis of adolescent psychopathology. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 21(4), 349–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Huebner, E. S., Gilman, R., & Laughlin, J. E. (1999). A multimethod investigation of the multidimensionality of children’s well-being reports: Discriminant validity of life satisfaction and self-esteem. Social Indicators Research, 46(1), 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Huebner, E. S., Seligson, J. L., Valois, R. F., & Suldo, S. M. (2006). A review of the brief multidimensional students’ life satisfaction scale. Social Indicators Research, 79(3), 477–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Jaenicke, C., Hammen, C., Zupan, B., Hiroto, D., Gordon, D., Adrian, C., et al. (1987). Cognitive vulnerability in children at risk for depression. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 15(4), 559–572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Joiner, T. E, Jr., Catanzaro, S. J., & Laurent, J. (1996). Tripartite structure of positive and negative affect, depression, and anxiety in child and adolescent psychiatric inpatients. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 105(3), 401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Jose, P. E. (2013). ModGraph-I: A programme to compute cell means for the graphical display of moderational analyses: The internet version, Version 3.0. Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand. Retrieved September 9, 2014, from http://pavlov.psyc.vuw.ac.nz/paul-jose/modgraph/.
  36. Keyes, C. L. (2002). The mental health continuum: From languishing to flourishing in life. Journal of Health and Social Behavior43(2), 207–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Keyfitz, L., Lumley, M. N., Hennig, K. H., & Dozois, D. J. A. (2013). The role of positive schemas in child psychopathology and resilience. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 37(1), 97–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lewis, A. D., Huebner, E. S., Malone, P. S., & Valois, R. F. (2011). Life satisfaction and student engagement in adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 40(3), 249–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lucas, R. E., Diener, E., & Suh, E. (1996). Discriminant validity of well-being measures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71(3), 616.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lumley, M. N., Dozois, D. J. A., Hennig, K. H., & Marsh, A. (2012). Cognitive organization, perceptions of parenting and depression symptoms in early adolescence. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 36(4), 300–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lyubomirsky, S., & Lepper, H. S. (1999). A measure of subjective happiness: Preliminary reliability and construct validation. Social Indicators Research, 46(2), 137–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., & Diener, E. (2005). The benefits of frequent positive affect: Does happiness lead to success? Psychological Bulletin, 131(6), 803.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. MacLeod, A., & Moore, R. (2000). Positive thinking revisited: Positive cognitions, well-being and mental health. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 7, 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Mahon, N. E., Yarcheski, A., & Yarcheski, T. J. (2005). Happiness as related to gender and health in early adolescents. Clinical Nursing Research, 14(2), 175–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Marques, S. C., Lopez, S. J., & Mitchell, J. (2013). The role of hope, spirituality and religious practice in adolescents’ life satisfaction: Longitudinal findings. Journal of Happiness Studies, 14(1), 251–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Masten, A. S. (2001). Ordinary magic: Resilience processes in development. American Psychologist, 56(3), 227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. McClain, L., & Abramson, L. Y. (1995). Self-schemas, stress, and depressed mood in college students. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 19(4), 419–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. McCullough, G., Huebner, E. S., & Laughlin, J. E. (2000). Life events, self-concept, and adolescents’ positive subjective well-being. Psychology in the Schools, 37(3), 281–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. McKnight, C. G., Huebner, E. S., & Suldo, S. (2002). Relationships among stressful life events, temperament, problem behavior, and global life satisfaction in adolescents. Psychology in the Schools, 39(6), 677–687.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Moksnes, U. K., & Espnes, G. A. (2013). Self-esteem and life satisfaction in adolescents—gender and age as potential moderators. Quality of Life Research, 22(10), 2921–2928.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Mruk, C. (2006). Self-esteem research, theory, and practice: Toward a positive psychology of self-esteem (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Springer.Google Scholar
  52. Natvig, G. K., Albrektsen, G., & Qvarnstrøm, U. (2003). Associations between psychosocial factors and happiness among school adolescents. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 9(3), 166–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2006). Character strengths and happiness among young children: Content analysis of parental descriptions. Journal of Happiness Studies, 7(3), 323–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Piko, B. F., & Keresztes, N. (2006). Physical activity, psychosocial health and life goals among youth. Journal of Community Health, 31(2), 136–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Prieto, S. L., Cole, D. A., & Tageson, C. W. (1992). Depressive self-schemas in clinic and nonclinic children. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 16(5), 521–534.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Proctor, C. L., Linley, P. A., & Maltby, J. (2009). Youth life satisfaction: A review of the literature. Journal of Happiness Studies, 10(5), 583–630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Robinson, M. D., & Kirkeby, B. S. (2005). Happiness as a belief system: Individual differences and priming in emotion judgments. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31(8), 1134–1144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Rousseau, D. M., Sitkin, S. B., Burt, R. S., & Camerer, C. (1998). Not so different after all: A cross-discipline view of trust. Academy of Management Review, 23(3), 393–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Saylor, C. F., Finch, A. J., Spirito, A., & Bennett, B. (1984). The children’s depression inventory: A systematic evaluation of psychometric properties. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 52(6), 955.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Scheier, M. F., & Carver, C. S. (1985). Optimism, coping, and health: assessment and implications of generalized outcome expectancies. Health Psychology, 4(3), 219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Seligman, M. E., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: An introduction (Vol. 55, No. 1, p. 5). American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  62. Seligson, J. L., Huebner, E. S., & Valois, R. F. (2003). Preliminary validation of the brief multidimensional students’ life satisfaction scale (BMSLSS). Social Indicators Research, 61(2), 121–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Seligson, J. L., Huebner, E. S., & Valois, R. F. (2005). An investigation of a brief life satisfaction scale with elementary school children. Social Indicators Research, 73(3), 355–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Shogren, K. A., Lopez, S. J., Wehmeyer, M. L., Little, T. D., & Pressgrove, C. L. (2006). The role of positive psychology constructs in predicting life satisfaction in adolescents with and without cognitive disabilities: An exploratory study. Journal of Positive Psychology, 1(1), 37–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Sin, N. L., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2009). Enhancing well-being and alleviating depressive symptoms with positive psychology interventions: A practice- friendly meta- analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65(5), 467–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Singh, K., Ruch, W., & Junnarkar, M. (2015). Effect of the demographic variables and psychometric properties of the personal well-being index for school children in India. Child Indicators Research, 8(3), 571–585.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Stallard, P. (2007). Early maladaptive schemas in children: Stability and differences between a community and a clinic referred sample. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 14(1), 10–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Stallard, P., & Rayner, H. (2005). The development and preliminary evaluation of a schema questionnaire for children (SQC). Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 33(2), 217–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Stanley, D. J. (2014). Fast interaction (1.5.0). Computer application software. Retrieved from http://www.statscanbefun.com.
  70. Suldo, S. M., Frank, M. J., Chappel, A. M., Albers, M. M., & Bateman, L. P. (2014). American high school students’ perceptions of determinants of life satisfaction. Social Indicators Research, 118(2), 485–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Suldo, S. M., Minch, D. R., & Hearon, B. V. (2015). Adolescent life satisfaction and personality characteristics: Investigating relationships using a five factor model. Journal of Happiness Studies, 16(4), 965–983.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Taylor, S. E., & Brown, J. D. (1988). Illusion and well-being: A social psychological perspective on mental health. Psychological Bulletin, 103(2), 193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Terry, T., & Huebner, E. S. (1995). The relationship between self-concept and life satisfaction in children. Social Indicators Research, 35(1), 39–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Valois, R. F., Zullig, K. J., Huebner, E. S., & Drane, J. W. (2001). Relationship between life satisfaction and violent behaviors among adolescents. American Journal of Health Behavior, 25(4), 353–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Vecchio, G. M., Gerbino, M., Pastorelli, C., Del Bove, G., & Caprara, G. V. (2007). Multi-faceted self-efficacy beliefs as predictors of life satisfaction in late adolescence. Personality and Individual Differences, 43(7), 1807–1818.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Carey, G. (1988). Positive and negative affectivity and their relation to anxiety and depressive disorders. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 97(3), 346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Wigfield, A., & Eccles, J. S. (Eds.). (2002). The development of competence beliefs, expectancies for success, and achievement values from childhood through adolescence. In The development of achievement motivation (pp. 91–120). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Wood, A. M., & Tarrier, N. (2010). Positive clinical psychology: A new vision and strategy for integrated research and practice. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(7), 819–829.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Young, J. E. (1998). The young schema questionnaire—shortened inventory. http://www.schematherapy.com. Copyright Jeffrey Young and Gary Brown.
  80. Zullig, K. J., Valois, R. F., Huebner, E. S., Oeltmann, J. E., & Drane, J. W. (2001). Relationship between perceived life satisfaction and adolescents’ substance abuse. Journal of Adolescent Health, 29(4), 279–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. M. Tomlinson
    • 1
    Email author
  • L. Keyfitz
    • 1
  • J. S. Rawana
    • 2
  • M. N. Lumley
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyYork UniversityTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations