-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- A new study helps support
the notion that happy young teens are more likely to avoid
To reach this finding, researchers at the University of
California, Davis analyzed 1995 and 1996 data from nearly 15,000
students in grades 7 to 9. About 29 percent of the students said
they'd committed at least one criminal offense and 18 percent said
they had used at least one illegal drug.
The researchers, who used data from the National Longitudinal
Study of Adolescent Health, then looked at the students'
self-reported levels of emotional well-being. They found that those
who said they were happier were less likely to commit crimes or use
The team also found that youth with even minor depression were
much more likely to be involved in criminal activity or drug use.
And while most adolescents have periods of happiness and
depression, it's when negative periods begin to outnumber the more
positive ones that trouble can start, the California team said.
They theorized that the benefits of being generally happy --
such as maintaining strong bonds with others, feeling good about
oneself, and gaining good social skills -- can help kids make good
decisions that are "informed by positive emotions."
The study was to be presented Monday at the annual meeting of
the American Sociological Association in Las Vegas.
The bottom line is that "the emphasis placed on happiness and
well-being by positive psychologists and others is warranted,"
co-author and sociology professor Bill McCarthy said in an ASA news
release. "In addition to their other benefits, programs and
policies that increase childhood and adolescent happiness may have
a notable effect on deterring nonviolent crime and drug use."
Since the study has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed
journal, the findings should be viewed as preliminary.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about
teens' emotional health.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.