In previous literature, social support has been reported to have a significant, positive relationship with life satisfaction. However, few studies have examined this relationship among Korean youths and how their psychological functioning is associated with both social support and life satisfaction. This study investigated the associations between different sources of social support (i.e., family, peer, and teacher), psychological factors (i.e., self-efficacy and emotional regulation), and life satisfaction, in a sample of 1133 Korean adolescents. The possibility of sex differences in these relationships was also investigated. Results indicated that only family support had a direct relationship with life satisfaction for male adolescents; however, all three types of social support were found to have a significant, indirect relationship with life satisfaction for male adolescents through both psychological factors. In contrast, all three types of social support had a direct relationship with life satisfaction of female adolescents. Additionally, self-efficacy had a mediating effect on the relationship between the social support from family and teachers and life satisfaction of female adolescents. The results and implications of the study are discussed.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Addis, M. E., & Mahalik, J. R. (2003). Men, masculinity, and the contexts of help seeking. American Psychologist, 58(1), 5–14. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.58.1.5.
An, S. Y., & Lee, H. S. (2009). The effects of individual psychology and family variable on adolescents’ peer relationships. Journal of Korean Home Economics Education, 21(3), 164–176.
Antaramian, S., Kamble, S. V., & Huebner, E. S. (2016). Life satisfaction and coping in Hindu adolescents in India. Journal of Happiness Studies, 17(4), 1703–1717. doi:10.1007/s10902-015-9666-0.
Bandura, A. (1997). Self- efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman.
Bandura, A., Barbaranelli, C., Caprara, G. V., & Pastorelli, C. (2001). Self-efficacy beliefs as shapers of children’s aspirations and career trajectories. Child Development, 72, 187–206. doi:10.1111/1467-8624.00273.
Bentler, P. M. (1990). Comparative fit indexes in structural models. Psychological Bulletin, 107(2), 238–246.
Bentler, P. M. (2007). On tests and indices for evaluating structural models. Personality and Individual Differences, 42(5), 825–829.
Bentler, P. M., & Bonett, D. G. (1980). Significance tests and goodness of fit in the analysis of covariance structures. Psychological Bulletin, 88(3), 588–606.
Bisegger, C., Cloetta, B., von Rueden, U., Abel, T., & Ravens-Sieberer, U. (2005). Health-related quality of life: Gender differences in childhood and adolescence. Sozial- und Praventivmedizin, 50, 281–291. doi:10.1007/s00038-005-4094-2.
Bradley, R. H., & Corwyn, R. F. (2001). Home environment and behavioral development during early adolescence: The mediating and moderating roles of self-efficacy beliefs. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 47(2), 165–187. doi:10.1353/mpq.2001.0007.
Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments in nature and design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Camfield, L., Choudhury, K., & Devine, J. (2009). Well-being, happiness and why relationships matter: Evidence from Bangladesh. Journal of Happiness Studies, 10(1), 71–91. doi:10.1007/s10902-007-9062-5.
Chen, C., Lee, S., & Stevenson, H. W. (1995). Response style and cross-cultural comparisons of rating scales among East Asian and North American students. Psychological Science, 6(3), 170–175.
Chen, X., & Shi, K. (2008). Mediating effect of social support on loneliness and mental health of college students. Chinese Journal of Clinical Psychology, 16(5), 534–536.
Cho, S. Y., Kim, H. W., & Kim, M. (2011). Adolescent’ life satisfaction in the ecological context. Journal of the Korean Home Economics, 49(3), 87–98.
Cikrikci, Ö., & Odaci, H. (2015). The determinants of life satisfaction among adolescents: The role of metacognitive awareness and self-efficacy. Social Indicators Research. doi:10.1007/s11205-015-0861-5.
Cole, P. M., Teti, L. O., & Zahn-Waxler, C. (2003). Mutual emotion regulation and the stability of conduct problems between preschool and early school age. Development and Psychopathology, 15, 1–18.
Contreras, J. M., Kerns, K. A., Weimer, B. L., Gentzler, A. L., & Tomich, P. L. (2000). Emotion regulation as a mediator of associations between mother-child attachment and peer relationships in middle childhood. Journal of Family Psychology, 14, 111–124.
Curran, P. J., West, S. G., & Finch, F. G. (1996). The robustness of test statistics to nonnormality and specification error in confirmatory factor analysis. Psychological Methods, 1(1), 16–29.
Danielsen, A. G., Samdal, O., Hetland, J., & Wold, B. (2009). School-related social support and students’ perceived life satisfaction. The Journal of Educational Research, 102(4), 303–318. doi:10.3200/JOER.102.4.303-320.
Deci, E., La Guardia, J., Moller, A., Scheiner, M., & Ryan, R. (2006). On the benefits of giving as well as receiving autonomy support: Mutuality in close friendships. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32(3), 313.
Demaray, M. K., & Malecki, C. K. (2002). Critical levels of perceived social support associated with student adjustment. School Psychology Quarterly, 17, 213–241. doi:10.1521/scpq.184.108.40.20683.
Demaray, M. K., & Malecki, C. K. (2003). Importance ratings of socially supportive behaviors by children and adolescents. School Psychology Review, 32(1), 108–131.
Demir, M. (2013). Introduction to relationships and happiness. In I. Boniwell, S. A. David, & A. C. Ayers (Eds.), Oxford handbook of happiness (pp. 817–820). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Diener, E., & Diener, C. (1995). Cross-cultural correlates of life satisfaction and self-esteem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 653–663.
Eisenberg, N., Pidada, S., & Liew, J. (2001). The relations of regulation and negative emotionality to Indonesian children’s social functioning. Child Development, 72, 1747–1763.
Franke, K. B., Huebner, E. S., & Hills, K. J. (2016). Cross-sectional and prospective associations between positive emotions and general life satisfaction in adolescents. Journal of Happiness Studies. doi:10.1007/s10902-016-9763-8.
Goldbeck, L., Schmitz, T. G., Besier, T., Herschbach, P., & Henrich, G. (2007). Life satisfaction decreases during adolescence. Quality of Life Research: An International Journal of Quality of Life Aspects of Treatment, Care & Rehabilitation, 16(6), 969–979. doi:10.1007/s11136-007-9205-5.
Gorrese, A., & Ruggieri, R. (2012). Peer attachment: A meta-analytic review of gender and age differences and associations with parent attachment. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 41, 650–672.
Gudjonsson, G. H., Sigurdsson, J. F., Eyjolfsdottir, G. A., Smari, J., & Young, S. (2009). The relationship between satisfaction with life, ADHD symptoms, and associated problems among university students. Journal of Attention Disorders, 12(6), 507–515. doi:10.1177/1087054708323018.
Hooper, D., Coughlan, J., & Mullen, M. (2008). Structural equation modelling: Guidelines for determining model fit. Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, 6(1), 53–60.
Hoseinzadeh, A., Azizi, M., & Tavakoli, H. (2014). Social support and life satisfaction in adolescents: The mediating role of self- efficacy and self-esteem. Journal of Iranian Psychologists, 11(41), 103–114.
Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 6, 1–55.
Huebner, E. S. (1991). Correlates of life satisfaction in children. School Psychology Quarterly, 6(2), 103–111.
Jenkins, S. R., Goodness, K., & Buhrmester, D. (2002). Gender differences in early adolescents’ relationship qualities, self-efficacy, and depression symptoms. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 22(3), 277–309. doi:10.1177/02731602022003003.
John, O. P., & Gross, J. J. (2004). Health and unhealthy emotion regulation: Personality process, individual differences, and life span development. Journal of Personality, 72(6), 1301–1333.
Kil, K. S. (2006). A study on the effect of parent’s rearing attitudes, social support on the children’s emotional intelligence. Journal of Korean Child Care and Education, 2(2), 147–164.
Kim, J. Y., & Chung, H. J. (2008). A study on factors influencing the quality of life for adolescents. Social Welfare Review, 13, 171–190.
Kim, M., Kim, H., Han, Y., & Lim, J. (2003). Explorations on the happy life on Koreans on the bases of their social structural variables. The Korean Journal of Psychology, 22(2), 1–33.
Kim, Y., Kwak, K., & Lee, S. (2015). Does optimism moderate parental achievement pressure and academic stress in Korean children? Current Psychology: A Journal for Diverse Perspectives on Diverse Psychological Issues. doi:10.1007/s12144-015-9355-5.
Kim, U. C., & Park, Y. S. (2006). Analysis of factors influencing quality of life in Korean society. Korean Journal of Psychological and Social Issues, 12(5), 1–28.
Kim, G. D., & Park, M. S. (2009). Study on the factors affecting the school adaptations of children from multi-cultural families. Social Science Research, 48(1), 97–121.
Kong, F., Ding, K., & Zhao, J. (2015). The relationships among gratitude, self-esteem, social support and life satisfaction among undergraduate students. Journal of Happiness Studies, 16(2), 477–489. doi:10.1007/s10902-014-9519-2.
Kong, F., & You, X. (2013). Loneliness and self-esteem as mediators between social support and life satisfaction in late adolescence. Social Indicators Research, 110(1), 271–279. doi:10.1007/s11205-011-9930-6.
Korean Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development. (2013). A report on educational support for children from culturally diverse families.
Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare. (2013). A report on the status of Korean children.
Kumar, R., & Lal, R. (2006). The role of self-efficacy and gender difference among the adolescents. Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology, 32(3), 345–350.
Kwon, H., Yoon, K. L., Joormann, J., & Kwon, J. (2013). Cultural and gender differences in emotion regulation: Relation to depression. Cognition and Emotion, 27(5), 769–782. doi:10.1080/02699931.2013.792244.
Lee, J. W., Jones, P. S., Mineyama, Y., & Zhang, X. E. (2002). Cultural differences in responses to a likert scale. Research in Nursing & Health, 25(4), 295–306. doi:10.1002/nur.10041.
Lee, H. E., & Kwak, Y. J. (2011). A Study on factors affecting life satisfaction and school life satisfaction in the early youth. Korean Journal of Youth Studies, 18(7), 59–83.
Lee, S., You, S., & Furlong, M. J. (2015). Validation of the Social Emotional Health Survey for Korean school students. Child Indicators Research. doi:10.1007/s12187-014-9294-y.
Li, T., & Cheng, S. (2015). Family, friends, and subjective well-being: A comparison between the West and Asia. In M. Demir (Ed.), Friendship and happiness: Across the life-span and cultures (pp. 235–252). Dordrecht: Springer.
Li, X., Wang, Q., Lu, F., & Sun, X. (2014). Ethnic identity, social support and life satisfaction in minority preparatory undergraduates. Chinese Mental Health Journal, 28(1), 75–79. http://search.proquest.com/docview/1531962705?accountid=14522.
Liu, Q., & Li, F. (2007). Mediating role of cognitive emotion regulation on the relation between college students’ life events and life satisfaction. Chinese Journal of Clinical Psychology, 15(4), 397–398.
Lyons, M. D., Huebner, E. S., & Hills, K. J. (2016). Relations among personality characteristics, environmental events, coping behavior and adolescents’ life satisfaction. Journal of Happiness Studies, 17(3), 1033–1050. doi:10.1007/s10902-015-9630-z.
Ma, Z., Zeng, W., & Ye, K. (2015). Gender differences in Chinese adolescents’ subjective well-being: The mediating role of self-efficacy. Psychological Reports, 116(1), 311–321. doi:10.2466/17.07.PR0.116k15w2.
Marsh, H. W., Balla, J. R., & McDonald, R. P. (1988). Goodness-of-fit-indexes in confirmatory factor analysis: The effect of sample size. Psychological Bulletin, 103, 391–410. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.103.3.391.
Maxwell, S. E., & Cole, D. A. (2007). Bias in cross-sectional analyses of longitudinal mediation. Psychological Methods, 12, 23–44.
McCarthy, C. J., Lambert, R. G., & Moller, N. P. (2006). Preventive resources and emotion regulation expectancies as mediators between attachment and college students’ stress outcomes. International Journal of Stress Management, 13, 1–22.
McDonald, R. P., & Ho, M.-H. (2002). Principles and practice in reporting structural equation analyses. Psychological Methods, 7, 64–82.
Moksnes, U. K., & Espnes, G. A. (2013). Self-esteem and life satisfaction in adolescents—Gender and age as potential moderators. Quality of Life Research: An International Journal of Quality of Life Aspects of Treatment, Care & Rehabilitation, 22(10), 2921–2928. doi:10.1007/s11136-013-0427-4.
Ndika, N. A., Olagbaiye, F., & Agiobu-Kemmer, I. (2008). Gender differences in irrational beliefs, self-efficacy and self-confidence of some Nigerian adolescents. Psychology and Education: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 45(1), 24–33.
Noh, H., & Shin, H. (2008). The mediating effect of perceived social support in the relation between gratitude and psychological well-being among adolescents. Korean Journal of Youth Studies, 15(2), 147–168.
Park, D. G., Cho, H. J., & Choi, D. J. (2004). The effectiveness of regulation strategies for specific negative emotions on job performance and psychological well-being. The Korean Journal of Health Psychology, 9(4), 831–852.
Park, N., & Huebner, E. S. (2005). A cross-cultural study of the levels and correlates of life satisfaction among adolescents. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 36(4), 444–456.
Park, Y. S., Kim, U. C., & Min, B. K. (2002). A longitudinal analysis of Korean adolescents: The influence of parental social support on self-efficacy and life-satisfaction. The Korean Journal of Education Psychology, 16(2), 63–92.
Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2008). Asymptotic and resampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple mediator models. Behavior Research Methods, 40, 879–891.
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. doi:10.1007/s10902-008-9110-9.
Roehrle, B., & Strouse, J. (2008). Influence of social support on success of therapeutic interventions: A meta-analytic review. Psychotherapy Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 45, 464–476.
Ryu, J., & Min, K. H. (2005). The effects of emotion coping style and emotion awareness on the subjective well-being later life. The Korean Journal of Social and Personality Psychology, 19(4), 1–18.
Saphire-Bernstein, S., & Taylor, S. E. (2013). Close relationships and happiness. In I. Boniwell, S. A. David, & A. C. Ayers (Eds.), Oxford handbook of happiness (pp. 821–833). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Saphire-Bernstein, S., Taylor, S. E., Moore, A. N., Lam, S., & Seeman, T. E. (2010). Is relationship quality related to life satisfaction? (under review).
Siddall, J., Huebner, E. S., & Jiang, X. (2013). A prospective study of differential sources of school-related social support and adolescent global life satisfaction. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 83(1), 107–114. doi:10.1111/ajop.12006.
Steenkamp, J. E. M., & Baumgartner, H. (1998). Assessing measurement invariance in cross-national consumer research. Journal of Consumer Research, 25(1), 78–90.
Steiger, J. H., & Lind, J. C. (1980). Statistically based tests for the number of common factors. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Psychometric Society, Iowa, USA.
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, 1807–1818. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2007.05.018.
Vieno, A., Santinello, M., Pastore, M., & Perkins, D. D. (2007). Social support, sense of community in school, and self-efficacy as resources during early adolescence: An integrative model. American Journal of Community Psychology, 39(1–2), 177–190. doi:10.1007/s10464-007-9095-2.
This work was partially supported by the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies Research Fund granted to Sukkyung You.
About this article
Cite this article
You, S., Lim, S.A. & Kim, E.K. Relationships Between Social Support, Internal Assets, and Life Satisfaction in Korean Adolescents. J Happiness Stud 19, 897–915 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-017-9844-3
- Life satisfaction
- Social support
- Emotion regulation
- Korean adolescents