Reference Work Entry

Handbook of Child Well-Being

pp 1713-1738

Adolescence and Well-Being

  • Rita ŽukauskienėAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Mykolas Romeris University Email author 


The well-being of adolescents has been shown to be related both to individual and contextual factors. Mental and physical well-being during adolescence has been shown to be integrally shaped by the daily contexts in which children grow and develop, including differences that exist between developing and developed nations. The self-concept is regarded as both a risk factor influencing social functioning and behavior problems during adolescence contributing to different kinds of mental health problems and a protective factor that impedes psychological problems and promotes general well-being. Body dissatisfaction is highly prevalent among adolescents and is considered as a risk factor for subsequent lower self-esteem, decreased psychological well-being, and increased eating disorder symptomatology, dieting behaviors, obesity, and depression. Research generally supports the view that secure attachments with parents in infancy, childhood, and adolescence are linked with positive representations of the self, including high levels of self-esteem and self-efficacy. The presence of significant nonparental adults appears to be associated with higher levels of youth self-esteem among diverse samples of adolescents and also with lower levels of behavioral and emotional problems among youth. Peer behaviors as well as the quality of the relationships that youth have with their peers have been shown to be important correlates of a wide range of adolescent outcomes including psychological, social, and academic functioning and well-being. Substantial research on the relationship between Internet use and psychological well-being has yielded mixed findings. While some studies found that daily Internet use was associated with lower well-being, other studies found contradicting evidence. Psychosocial problems and negative moods are also demonstrated in those who are cyberbullied.