Cheerful kids make for happy adults

February 27th, 2011 - 1:48 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Feb 27 (IANS) Being happy and cheerful in teen years could be key to greater well being and satisfaction in adulthood, says new research.

Although a troubled childhood may be linked to mental health problems, little is known about the impact of a positive childhood.

Accordingly, University of Cambridge researchers and MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing went back to a 1946 British birth cohort study of 2,776 people to examine links between a positive childhood and later well-being.

A ‘positive’ childhood was based on evaluation of students’ levels of happiness, friendship and energy at the age of 13 and 15, The Journal of Positive Psychology reports.

A student was given a positive point for each of the following four items - whether the child was ‘very popular with other children’, was ‘unusually happy and content’, ‘makes friends extremely easily’ and ‘extremely energetic, never tired’, according to a Cambridge statement

They found that teenagers - rated positively by their teachers - were significantly more likely to have higher levels of well-being later in life, including higher work satisfaction, more frequent contact with family and friends, and were more socially active.

Happy children were also much less likely than others to develop mental disorders throughout their lives - 60 percent less likely than young teens that had no positive ratings.

“The benefits to individuals, families and to society of good mental health, positive relationships and satisfying work are likely to be substantial,” said Felicia Huppert, study co-author and director of the Well-being Institute, University of Cambridge.

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