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Subjective Well-Being in Adolescence: The Role of Self-Control, Social Support, Age, Gender, and Familial Crisis

Abstract

Focusing on adolescents’ subjective well-being, the present study comprised three parts. The first examined the role of two coping mechanisms, self-control and social support, in predicting subjective well-being. The second related to the role of age and gender in predicting adolescents’ subjective well-being. The third raised the question of whether exposure to familial crisis would predict adolescents’ subjective well-being and whether self-control and social support would moderate the link between crisis and adolescents’ subjective well-being. Participants included 380 adolescents ages 13–17 years (M = 15.32, SD = .98; 194 boys, 176 girls, 10 unspecified), from six integrative junior-high and high schools in central Israel. All schools served a heterogeneous Jewish student population. Based on responses to a questionnaire identifying adolescents who reported experiencing a severe life crisis during the last year (e.g., severe illness in family, parent death or separation/divorce), the sample was divided into two groups: exposure to familial crisis (n = 96) and no exposure to familial crisis (n = 284). Outcomes revealed that both self-control and social support predicted adolescents’ subjective well-being. As expected, older adolescents presented lower levels of subjective well-being than younger ones. In contrast to the hypothesis, gender did not predict subjective well-being. Although exposure to crisis did not predict higher negative affect or lower positive affect, an interaction emerged between self-control and crisis in predicting positive affect. Thus, among adolescents who experienced crisis, better self-control skills predicted higher levels of positive affect.

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Acknowledgments

We are thankful to Ms. Yasmin Alklai and Mr. Shmulik Michelson for their statistical advice. We thank Dee B. Ankonina for her editorial assistance.

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Correspondence to Liat Hamama.

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Ronen, T., Hamama, L., Rosenbaum, M. et al. Subjective Well-Being in Adolescence: The Role of Self-Control, Social Support, Age, Gender, and Familial Crisis. J Happiness Stud 17, 81–104 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-014-9585-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-014-9585-5

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Satisfaction from life
  • Positive and negative affect
  • Self-control
  • Social support
  • Life crisis