Advertisement

Social Indicators Research

, Volume 98, Issue 3, pp 519–532 | Cite as

Very Happy Youths: Benefits of Very High Life Satisfaction Among Adolescents

  • Carmel ProctorEmail author
  • P. Alex Linley
  • John Maltby
Article

Abstract

This study investigated the characteristics of adolescents reporting very high levels of life satisfaction. Participants (N = 410) were divided into three life satisfaction groups: very high (top 10%), average (middle 25%), and very low (lowest 10%). Results revealed that very happy youths had significantly higher mean scores on all included school, interpersonal, and intrapersonal variables, and significantly lower mean scores on depression, negative affect, and social stress than youths with average and very low levels of life satisfaction. Life meaning, gratitude, self-esteem, and positive affect were found to have a significantly more positive influence on global life satisfaction for the very unhappy than the very happy. Findings suggest that very unhappy youths would benefit most from focused interventions aimed at boosting those variables having the most influence on their level of life satisfaction. Results are discussed in light of previous findings and suggestions for future directions are briefly discussed.

Keywords

Life satisfaction Adolescents Subjective well-being Youths Happiness 

References

  1. Birnbaum, M. H. (2001). Introduction to behaviorial research on the Internet. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  2. Birnbaum, M. H. (2004). Human research and data collection via the Internet. Annual Review of Psychology, 55, 803–832.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Borgers, N., & Hox, J. (2001). Item nonresponse in questionnaire research with children. Journal of Official Statistics, 17, 321–335.Google Scholar
  4. Bradley, R. H., & Corwyn, R. F. (2004). Life satisfaction among European American, African American, Chinese American, Mexican American, and Dominican American adolescents. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 28, 385–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chen, M.-Y., Wang, K. E., Yang, R.-J., & Liou, Y.-M. (2003). Adolescent Health Promotion scale: Development and psychometric testing. Public Health Nursing, 20, 104–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chen, M.-Y., Wang, E. K., & Chang, C.-J. (2006). Cross-validation and discriminant validity of Adolescent Health Promotion scale among overweight and nonoverweight adolescents in Taiwan. Public Health Nursing, 23, 555–560.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dew, T., & Huebner, E. S. (1994). Adolescents’ perceived quality of life: An exploratory investigation. Journal of School Psychology, 33, 185–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Diener, E., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2002). Very happy people. Psychological Science, 13, 81–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Emmons, R. A. (1986). Personal strivings: An approach to personality and subjective well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1058–1068.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 377–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Friedman, E. T., Schwartz, R. M., & Haaga, D. A. F. (2002). Are the very happy too happy? Journal of Happiness Studies, 3, 355–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gilman, R. (2001). The relationship between life satisfaction, social interest, and frequency of extracurricular activities among adolescent students. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 30, 749–767.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gilman, R., & Huebner, E. S. (2006). Characteristics of adolescents who report very high life satisfaction. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 35, 311–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gilman, R., Dooley, J., & Florell, D. (2006). Relative levels of hope and their relationship with academic and psychological indicators among adolescents. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 25, 166–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gosling, S. D., Vazire, S., Srivastava, S., & John, O. P. (2004). Should we trust web-based studies? A comparative analysis of six preconceptions about Internet questionnaires. American Psychologist, 59, 93–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Huebner, E. S. (1991a). Correlates of life satisfaction in children. School Psychology Quarterly, 6, 103–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Huebner, E. S. (1991b). Further validation of the Students’ Life Satisfaction Scale: The independence of satisfaction and affect ratings. Psychological Assessment, 9, 363–368.Google Scholar
  18. Huebner, E. S. (1991c). Initial development of the Students’ Life Satisfaction Scale. School Psychology International, 12, 231–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Huebner, E. S., Suldo, S. M., & Valois, R. F. (2003). Psychometric properties of two brief measures of children’s life satisfaction: The Students’ Life Satisfaction Scale (SLSS) and the Brief Multidimensional Students’ Life Satisfaction Scale (BMSLSS). Paper prepared for the Indicators of Positive Development Conference, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  20. Lewinsohn, P. M., Redner, J. E., & Seeley, J. R. (1991). The relationship between life satisfaction and psychosocial variables: New perspectives. In F. Strack, M. Argyle, & N. Schwarz (Eds.), Subjective well-being: An interdisciplinary perspective (pp. 141–169). New York, NY: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  21. Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., & Diener, E. (2005). The benefits of frequent positive affect: Does happiness lead to success? Psychological Bulletin, 131, 803–855.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Man, P. (1991). The influence of peers and parents on youth life satisfaction in Hong Kong. Social Indicators Research, 24, 347–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nickerson, A. B., & Nagle, R. (2004). The influence of parent and peer attachments on life satisfaction in middle childhood and early adolescence. Social Indicators Research, 66, 35–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Otake, K., Shimai, S., Tanaka-Matsumi, J., Otsui, K., & Frederickson, B. L. (2006). Happy people become happier through kindness: A counting kindnesses intervention. Journal of Happiness Studies, 7, 361–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Proctor, C. L., Linley, P. A., & Maltby, J. (2009). Youth life satisfaction: A review of the literature. Journal of Happiness Studies, 10, 583–630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Seligman, M. E. P., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist, 60, 410–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Suldo, S. M., & Huebner, E. S. (2004a). Does life satisfaction moderate the effects of stressful events on psychopathological behaviour during adolescence? School Psychology Quarterly, 19, 93–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Suldo, S. M., & Huebner, E. S. (2004b). The role of life satisfaction in the relationship between authoritative parenting dimensions and adolescent problem behavior. Social Indicators Research, 66, 165–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Suldo, S. M., & Huebner, E. S. (2006). Is extremely high life satisfaction during adolescence advantageous? Social Indicators Research, 78, 179–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2001). Using multivariate statistics. MA: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  31. Terry, T., & Huebner, E. S. (1995). The relationship between self-concept and life satisfaction in children. Social Indicators Research, 35, 39–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Watson, D., Clark, L., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 1063–1070.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wuensch, K. L. (2007). Comparing correlation coefficients, slopes, and intercepts. Retrieved March 25, 2009, from http://core.ecu.edu/psyc/wuenschk/docs2030/CompareCorrCoeff.doc.
  34. Zullig, K. J., Valois, R. F., Huebner, E. S., & Drane, J. W. (2005). Adolescent health-related quality of life and perceived satisfaction with life. Quality of Life Research, 14, 1573–1584.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK
  2. 2.Centre of Applied Positive Psychology, The Venture CentreUniversity of Warwick Science ParkCoventryUK

Personalised recommendations