The Role of Perceived Stress and Self-Efficacy in Young People’s Life Satisfaction: A Longitudinal Study
- 2.6k Downloads
Life satisfaction is an important indicator of successful development. However, adolescents’ life satisfaction tends to be relatively unsteady, and environmental influences play a critical role in shaping life satisfaction among adolescents in the transition to young adulthood. Given the paramount importance that education plays in adolescents’ lives, adolescents’ life satisfaction may vary as a function of school-related stress experience. At the same time, coping resources may help reduce adverse effects of stress on life satisfaction. With this in mind, we examined whether, and to what extent, perceived stress in education and general self-efficacy (a resource that facilitates coping) affect the life satisfaction of adolescents in transition to young adulthood. We distinguished between baseline levels of stress and self-efficacy and within-person change in stress and self-efficacy to determine whether life satisfaction is sensitive to fluctuations in stress and self-efficacy when person-specific levels of stress and self-efficacy are taken into account. Estimating growth curve models on data from a panel study on the life trajectories of compulsory-school leavers (n = 5126, 55.3 % female), we found that baseline levels of stress and self-efficacy, as well as within-person change in stress and self-efficacy, affected adolescents’ life satisfaction. Moreover, our results showed that baseline self-efficacy mitigated the negative effect of baseline stress on life satisfaction. These findings improve our understanding of two major psychological determinants of adolescents’ life satisfaction and extend our knowledge of life satisfaction trajectories during the transition to young adulthood.
KeywordsLife satisfaction Perceived stress Self-efficacy Education Multilevel Longitudinal
The research drew on data collected by the Transition from Education to Employment project (TREE). The Swiss youth panel study TREE has been running since 2000 and has since been funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, the University of Basel, the Swiss Federal Office of Statistics, the Federal Office of Professional Education and Technology, and the cantons of Berne, Geneva and Ticino.
Both authors would like to thank Anita C. Keller and Karoline Lohse for comments on previous versions of this manuscript and Samuel Ian Quigg for proofreading the manuscript.
This research received no grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
KB conceived of the study, guided the data analysis and interpretation, and coordinated and drafted the manuscript. RS participated in and extended the data analysis and interpretation and drafted the manuscript. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
All data analyses in the present study were performed on anonymous and secondary data. All procedures performed in the original study, which involved human participants, were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutions involved in data collection.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
- Adams, R., Wu, M. (Eds.) (2002). PISA 2000 technical report. Paris: OECD/PISA.Google Scholar
- Ainscough, L., Foulis, E., Colthorpe, K., Zimbardi, K., Robertson-Dean, M., Chunduri, P., & Lluka, L. (2016). Changes in biology self-efficacy during a first-year university course. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 15, 1–12.Google Scholar
- Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company.Google Scholar
- Bergman, M. M., Hupka-Brunner, S., Keller, A., Meyer, T., & Stalder, B. E. (2011). Transitionen im Jugendalter: Ergebnisse der schweizer länggschnittstudie TREE. Zürich: Seismo.Google Scholar
- Burger, K., & Walk, M. (2016). Can children break the cycle of disadvantage? Structure and agency in the transmission of education across generations. Social Psychology of Education. doi: 10.1007/s11218-016-9361-y.
- Dempster, A. P., Laird, N. M., & Rubin, D. B. (1977). Maximum likelihood from incomplete data via the EM algorithm. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series B, 39(1), 1–38.Google Scholar
- Diener, E., & Chan, M. Y. (2011). Happy people live longer: Subjective well-being contributes to health and longevity. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 3(1), 1–43.Google Scholar
- Gist, M. E., & Mitchell, T. R. (1992). Self-efficacy: A theoretical analysis of its determinants and malleability. Academy of Management Review, 17(2), 183–211.Google Scholar
- Grob, A., Lüthi, R., Kaiser, F. G., Flammer, A., Mackinnon, A., & Wearing, A. J. (1991). Berner Fragebogen zum Wohlbefinden Jugendlicher (BFW). Diagnostica, 37(1), 66–75.Google Scholar
- Huber, P. J. (1967). The behavior of maximum likelihood estimates under nonstandard conditions. In Proceedings of the Fifth Berkeley Symposium on Mathematical Statistics and Probability (Vol. 1, pp. 221–233).Google Scholar
- Huebner, E. S., Suldo, S. M., & Gilman, R. (2006). Life satisfaction. In G. G. Bear, & K. M. Minke (Eds.), Children’s needs III: Development, prevention, and intervention (pp. 357–368). Washington, DC: National Association of School Psychologists.Google Scholar
- Keller, A. C., Samuel, R., Semmer, N. K., Bergman, M. M. (Eds.) (2014). Psychological, educational and sociological perspectives on success and well-being in career development. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Keyes, C. L. M., & Waterman, M. B. (2003). Dimensions of well-being and mental health in adulthood. In M. H. Bornstein, L. Davidson, C. L. M. Keyes, & K. A. Moore (Eds.), Well-being: Positive development across the life course (pp. 477–497). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.Google Scholar
- Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- McNamara, S. (2000). Stress in young people: What’s new and what to do. London, New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
- Ouweneel, E., Schaufeli, W. B., & Le Blanc, P. M. (2013). Believe, and you will achieve: Changes over time in self-efficacy, engagement, and performance. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 5(2), 225–247.Google Scholar
- Pajares, F., & Urdan, T. C. (2006). Self-efficacy beliefs of adolescents. Charlotte: IAP.Google Scholar
- Prümper, J., Hartmannsgruber, K., & Frese, M. (1995). Kurz-Fragebogen zur Arbeitsanalyse (KFZA). Zeitschrift für Arbeits- und Organisationspsychologie, 39(3), 125–131.Google Scholar
- Raudenbush, S. W., & Bryk, A. S. (2002). Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods. Thousand Oaks: Sage. (Vol. 1).Google Scholar
- Rogers, W. (1994). Regression standard errors in clustered samples. Stata Technical Bulletin, 3(13), 19–23.Google Scholar
- Sánchez-Álvarez, N., Extremera, N., & Fernández-Berrocal, P. (2015). Maintaining life satisfaction in adolescence: Affective mediators of the influence of perceived emotional intelligence on overall life satisfaction judgments in a two-year longitudinal study. Frontiers in Psychology, doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01892.
- Schwarzer, R., & Jerusalem, M. (1999). Skalen zur Erfassung von Lehrer- und Schülermerkmalen. Dokumentation der psychometrischen Verfahren im Rahmen der Wissenschaftlichen Begleitung des Modellversuchs Selbstwirksame Schulen. Berlin: Freie Universität Berlin und Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.Google Scholar
- Snijders, T. A., & Bosker, R. J. (2012). Multilevel analysis: An introduction to basic and advanced multilevel modeling. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- TREE. (2013). TREE project documentation 2000-2012. Basel: TREE.Google Scholar