Is Extremely High Life Satisfaction During Adolescence Advantageous?
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This study examined whether extremely high life satisfaction was associated with adaptive functioning or maladaptive functioning. Six hundred ninety-eight secondary level students completed the Students’ Life Satisfaction Scale [Huebner, 1991a, School Psychology International, 12, pp. 231–240], Youth Self-Report of the Child Behavior Checklist [Achenbach and Edelbrock, 1991, Child Behavior Checklist and Youth Self-Report, Burlington, VT], Abbreviated Junior Eysenck Personality Questionnaire [Francis, 1996, Personality and Individual Differences, 21, pp. 835–844], Self-Efficacy Questionnaire for Children (Muris, 2001, Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assesment, 23(3), pp. 145–149], and the Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale (Malecki and Demaray, 2002, Psychology in Schools, 39, pp. 1–18]. Three groups of students were created based on their life satisfaction reports: very high (top 10%), average (middle 25%), and very low (lowest 10%). Compared to students with average life satisfaction, students with very high life satisfaction had higher levels on all indicators of adaptive psychosocial functioning, except extraversion. Moreover, students with very high satisfaction had the lowest scores on all measures of emotional and behavioral problems. However, rates of clinical levels of behavior problems did not differ significantly between the very high and average groups. Finally, several necessary, but not sufficient factors for very high life satisfaction were identified. Taken together, the findings support the notion that very high life satisfaction is associated with positive psychosocial functioning. Furthermore, adolescents’ reports of their life satisfaction revealed differences in adjustment that were not captured by measures of psychopathology.
Keywordssubjective well-being life satisfaction adolescents secondary students mental health psychosocial adjustment
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