Miércoles, 23 Enero 2019 12:02

They are not rebellious or misunderstood

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Three University of Cordoba researchers have developed an instrument that reveals adolescence to be a stage of considerable well-being, disproving the myth that it is a period of angst and insecurities

Being a teenager is compatible with feeling good and being satisfied within the context in which one lives and with one’s personal relationships. It could be said that adolescence is a stage at which happiness levels are high and, generally speaking, individuals feel good. These statements sound strange since adolescence is usually associated with facing several risks and insecurities, and during which teens feel like “the whole world is against them” and they commonly complain that “no one understands them.”

 Researchers responsible for the investigation

This research team has explained that until now there was literature about tools to measure well-being, but they were essentially aimed at the adult population and included a long list of questions. This situation made it necessary to develop a measuring tool that can be used for more precise studies and, above all, is adapted to the teenage population. This tool could also be used to combine the measuring of other variables necessary to get a complete, scientific perspective of this complex phenomenon that is now under study.

In order to implement this tool, a sample of 1,590 Andalusian teenagers was used, of which 51% were females, from the ages of 13 to 19. The data analysis identified four dimensions that correspond to essential aspects of well-being. These aspects are: self-acceptance, interpersonal relationships, independence and ability to make decisions and life development. This last aspect refers to the meaning that adolescents give their lives and the concept they have of themselves in their environment and in their future. The tool attained with this study emerged as a statistically validated 20 item questionnaire that has scientifically recognized psychometric properties. As it is a short format questionnaire, this tool will allow for assessing the degree of adolescent well-being and measure it in relation to variables such as romantic relationships, personal success or drug use, among other examples. 

According to one of the authors of the study, Mercedes Gómez, who is carrying out doctoral research along these lines, the study concludes that teenagers “have a high degree of well-being, a positive perception of themselves and of their social relations, and they are able to control their behavior and to make important decisions.” Therefore, even though teens are faced with several changes and risks that exist in society at this stage of development, it does not end there and it is a “very positive period of life involving the transition to adulthood, with a lot of potential.” By using this validated tool, this line of research will be able to advance, developing new research projects, not only for national research groups, but also at an international level, and for cross-cultural studies as well. For instance, it could be determined if well-being is interpreted in the same way by teens in different places and from different cultures. 

Viejo, C; Gomez-López, M; Ortega-Ruiz, R. Adolescents’ Psychological Well-Being: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH AND PUBLIC HEALTH Octubre, 2018. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph15102325


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