How Adolescents’ Mental Health Predicts Their Physical Health: Unique Contributions of Indicators of Subjective Well-being and Psychopathology
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Studies among youth have established a link between mental health and physical health, and highlight the importance of attending to these relationships to provide a more complete picture of functioning. However, most previous investigations have limited their focus to examining the relationship between physical health and either particular aspects of psychopathology or particular aspects of subjective well-being. The current study serves as a first examination that includes both positive (subjective well-being [SWB]) and negative (psychopathology) indicators of mental health in relation to physical health functioning, assessed via self-report measures completed by a sample of 401 early adolescents from the general population. Mental health indicators accounted for 30% of the variance in physical health ratings, and 4 of the 5 mental health indicators were unique predictors of physical health. Positive affect, a component of SWB, explained the most unique variance in physical health, followed by the other components of SWB. Results support the importance of attending to positive indicators of mental health when determining the link with physical health among youth. Implications for a research and practice focus on comprehensive wellness among youth are discussed.
KeywordsSubjective well-being Physical health Mental health Adolescents Psychopathology Life satisfaction
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