Journal of Adolescent Health Vol. 50; No. 1: P. 66-73 (01..12)
The study's aim was to examine the prospective, longitudinal
associations between positive well-being during adolescence
and young adults' health outcomes.
Using data from the first three waves of the National
Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, the researchers
examined positive well-being during adolescence (averaged
across Waves I-II) as a predictor of perceived young adult
general health and risky health behaviors (Wave III). A full
set of health and demographic baseline covariates were
included for each model. Missing values were assigned using
multiple imputation methods (n=10,147).
The results showed positive well-being during adolescence was
significantly associated with reporting better perceived
general health during young adulthood, independent of
depressive symptoms. In addition, positive well-being was
significantly associated with fewer risky health behaviors in
Wave III, after adding all covariates, including depressive
symptoms and baseline risky health behaviors.
"Few studies of adolescent health have examined positive
psychological characteristics, tending to focus instead on the
effect of negative mood states and cognitions on health," the
researchers concluded. "This study demonstrates that positive
well-being during adolescence predicts better perceived
general health and fewer risky health behaviors during young
adulthood. Aligned with the goals of the positive youth
development perspective, promoting and nurturing positive
well-being during the transition from childhood to adolescence
may present a promising way to improve long-term health."