Happy teens have better adult health

Young people who are happy in their teenage years are more likely to enjoy better general health in adulthood when compared to those who adopt a more negative outlook. This is the finding of new research published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, which demonstrated that adolescents with high positive wellbeing are also less prone to smoke, drink, eat unhealthily and use drugs.

First author of the study Lindsay Till Hoyt - a fifth-year doctoral student in human development and social policy at Northwestern University, situated in Chicago and established in 1851 - said the investigation suggests positive wellbeing in children needs to be promoted in order to improve long-term health.

Study co-author Emma Adam explained that feeling good consists of more than just the absence of depression, adding: "Our results show that positive well-being during adolescence is significantly associated with reporting excellent health in young adulthood."

The researchers gathered their information by questioning teenagers in 1994, before carrying out follow-up interviews in 1996 and 2001.

Dr Helen O'Connor, Chartered Psychologist from Winchester, commented: "During adolescence it is critical that young people are given skills to consider both the positive and negative aspects of situations and develop a balanced view of the word. 

"In clinical settings it is often the case that adolescents may have developed a negative view of themselves, the world and other people which can lead to the emergence of problems which require clinical intervention.

"Helping young people to adjust these views to take account of the positives has certainly been helpful in clinical work and leads to better outcome in terms of recovery. Tapping into positive life goals about what they hope will happen can certainly help to do this."