Background—Subjective well-being as a predictor for later behavior and health has highlighted its relationship to health, work performance, and social relationships. However, the majority of such studies neglect the developmental nature of well-being in contributing to important changes across the transition to adulthood.
Methods—To examine the potential role of subjective well-being as a long-term predictor of critical life outcomes, we examined indicators of positive and negative affect at age 14 as a predictor of relationship, adjustment, self worth, and career outcomes a decade later at ages 23 to 25, controlling for family income and gender. We utilized multi-informant methods including reports from the target participant, close friends, and romantic partners in a demographically diverse community sample of 184 participants.
Results—Early adolescent positive affect predicted less relationship problems (less selfreported and partner-reported conflict, greater friendship attachment as rated by close peers), healthy adjustment to adulthood (lower levels of depression, anxiety, and loneliness). It also predicted positive work functioning (higher levels of career satisfaction and job competence) and increased self-worth. Negative affect did not significantly predict any of these important life outcomes. In addition to predicting desirable mean levels of later outcomes, early positive affect predicted beneficial changes across time in many outcomes.
Conclusions—The findings extend early research on the beneficial outcomes of subjective well-being by having an earlier assessment of well-being, including informant reports in measuring a large variety of outcome variables, and by extending the findings to a lower socioeconomic group of a diverse and younger sample. The results highlight the importance of considering positive affect as an important component of subjective well-being distinct from negative affect.
Objective—This multi-method, longitudinal study examines the negotiation of autonomy and relatedness between teens and their mothers as etiologic predictors of perpetration and victimization of dating aggression two years later.
Method—Observations of 88 mid-adolescents and their mothers discussing a topic of disagreement were coded for each individual’s demonstrations of autonomy and relatedness using a validated coding system. Adolescents self-reported on perpetration and victimization of physical and psychological dating aggression two years later. We hypothesized that mother’s and adolescents’ behaviors supporting autonomy and relatedness would longitudinally predict lower reporting of dating aggression, and that their behaviors inhibiting autonomy and relatedness would predict higher reporting of dating aggression.
Results—Hypotheses were not supported; main findings were characterized by interactions of sex and risk status with autonomy. Maternal behaviors supporting autonomy predicted higher reports of perpetration and victimization of physical dating aggression for girls, but not for boys. Adolescent behaviors supporting autonomy predicted higher reports of perpetration of physical dating aggression for high-risk adolescents, but not for low-risk adolescents.
Conclusions—Results indicate that autonomy is a dynamic developmental process, operating differently as a function of social contexts in predicting dating aggression. Examination of these and other developmental processes within parent-child relationships is important in predicting dating aggression, but may depend on social context.
Objective—Youths' ability to positively cope with negative emotions and their self-perceived friendship competence were examined as potential moderators of links between multiple aspects of romantic relationships and residualized increases in depressive symptoms from late adolescence into early adulthood.
Method—Participants included 184 teens (46% male; 42% non-white) assessed at ages 15-19 and 21, as well as a sub-sample of 62 romantic partners of participants assessed when teens were 18.
Results—Results of hierarchical linear regressions showed that positive coping served as a buffer against depressive symptoms for romantically involved adolescents and also for teens receiving more intense emotional support from their romantic partners, but not for youth whose relationship had ended and had not been replaced by a new relationship. Higher perceived friendship competence served as a buffer against depressive symptoms for youth enduring the dissolution and non-replacement of their romantic relationship.
Conclusions—Greater use of positive coping skills and higher perceived friendship competence may help protect adolescents from depressive symptoms in different types of romantic experiences.