Summarized by Ariel Ervin
Notes of Interest:
- The well-being of adolescents is a continuous subject of interest for policy-makers and stakeholders since adolescence is an opportunity for intervention before adulthood.
- Understanding the factors that make up adolescent well-being affects the policy planning and interventions that will impact youth and adult outcomes.
- This paper assesses if there is a link between adolescent well-being and positive relationships across various cultures.
- It also examined if the correlation between adolescent well-being and positive relationships varies by individualism/collectivism and indulgence/restraint.
- Findings indicate that positive relationships correlate with eudemonic and affective well-being.
- Results also suggest that there might be a greater correlation between positive affect and positive relationships in collectivist-indulgent countries than in collectivistic restraint countries.
- Cultural dimensions did not influence the advancement of eudemonic well-being.
- However, it’s still possible that cultural dimensions still affect the fostered purpose or the essence of the sense of meaning-making.
- Communities need to develop support structures to bolster positive relationships and promote adolescent well-being.
Introduction (Reprinted from the Abstract)
A recurrent dimension occurring in wellbeing models pertains to positive relationships of individuals. Yet there is little information elucidating the link between positive relationships and subjective wellbeing in different cultures. Thus, the aims of this paper were (1) to examine whether there is an association between positive relationships and adolescent wellbeing across several culturally distinct countries and (2) explore whether the association between positive relationships and adolescent wellbeing differed for these countries along the cultural dimensions of individualism/collectivism and indulgence/restraint. Well-being measures were obtained from the large-scale assessment PISA 2018 and cultural dimensions indices were obtained. The results provide compelling evidence that positive relationships are positively associated with both affective and eudemonic wellbeing. Furthermore, there may be a greater association between positive relationships and positive affect in collectivist-indulgent countries than in collectivistic restraint countries. The study furthers our understanding of adolescent wellbeing across different cultural dimensions.
Implications (Reprinted from the Discussion)
RQ1: Is the Dimension of Positive Relationships Associated With Adolescent Well-Being?
Despite the small number of participating countries, there is a strong inference from the results that positive relationships are positively associated with both affective and eudemonic well-being. This is not surprising as most, if not all, well-being models cite the quality of social relationships as an essential pillar (e.g., Diener et al., 2009; Seligman, 2011). In the affective domain, positive relations with peers, teachers, and parents provide acceptance and emotional support. With respect to peers, most adolescents would want to forge close friendships and integrate into a friendship network (Majors, 2011). These networks give them reassurances of worth and the necessary bonds to meet their social and leisure needs. Furthermore, sharing of positive moments within a friendship network that is willing to respond significantly increases the impact of the positive moment (Mertika et al., 2020). With respect to teachers and parents, most adolescents desire reciprocal respectful interactions that enhance their sense of autonomy. This is especially important to them at an age where assertions of independence are increasingly prominent. Being able to exercise personal autonomy is a pre-requisite to the development of positive affect (Chirkov et al., 2010).
In the eudemonic domain, positive relations with peers, teachers, and parents may provide the necessary quality interactions required for meaning-making. At the developmental stage of adolescence, identity is in the process of being formed. In striving to find a sense of meaning, adolescents often seek coherence, or order, in their lives. In this aspect, most adolescents may do so through school-related activities. Positive interactions with teachers and parents provide the necessary guidance and support for these activities. Similarly, positive associations with peers may provide the necessary corresponding behavioral influence. Indeed, previous studies had indicated that positive relations with peers, teachers, and parents were associated with increased school engagement, higher subjective value of learning, and participation in extracurricular activities (Wang & Eccles, 2012). At the same time, some adolescents may be trying to find a sense of purpose in their lives, specifically intending to contribute toward meaningful areas beyond themselves. Two key features that promote a sense of purpose in adolescents are the trigger that would ignite interest and their capacity for maintenance (Eivers & Kelly, 2020). Positive interactions with parents and teachers may facilitate the trigger through inspirational narratives or participation opportunities in life activities. Positive associations with peers may help to maintain a positive attitude and act as motivators for action.
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