Social Connectedness in Teens Better Predicts Adult Well-Being

Teen social connectedness has more of an impact than academic achievement on adult well-being

TUESDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Adolescent social connectedness is a better predictor of adult well-being than academic achievement, according to a study published online July 25 in the Journal of Happiness Studies.

Craig A. Olsson, Ph.D., from Deakin University in Geelong, Australia, and colleagues examined the relative importance of child and adolescent social and academic pathways to well-being in adulthood. Data were obtained from a 32-year longitudinal study on the health and development of approximately 1,000 participants from New Zealand.

The researchers found that, across childhood and adolescence, there was moderate continuity in social connectedness and high continuity in academic ability. Compared with academic achievement, adolescent social connectedness was superior for prediction of adult well-being. Adolescent academic achievement was linked to adult well-being in an indirect pathway, via social connectedness.

"Our findings show that social connectedness is a more important pathway to adult well-being (as we have defined it) than academic ability," the authors write. "We have suggested that development of a social curriculum may provide structure in provision of program and activities that enhance social inclusion and connection. However, further research on the developmental origins of well-being is needed to inform a social curriculum."

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