In Adolescence, Happier Often Means Healthier

Study finds close ties between positive emotions, physical well-being

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FRIDAY, July 23, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- Teens with sunnier outlooks also tend to be healthier, a new study finds.

University of South Florida researchers found that teens' positive emotions and moods, as well as their satisfaction with life, may be more important than either anxiety or depression levels for predicting physical health.

The study included more than 400 American students in grades 6 to 8 at a suburban middle school. The participants provided information about their physical health and feelings about a number of things.

Overall, there appeared to be a strong link between good physical health and life satisfaction and recently feeling excited, strong and proud. Poorer health was associated with feeling lonelier, feeling more guilty, anxious and depressed, and being more likely to display negative behaviors.

In addition, mental health indicators explained 30 percent of the differences in physical health ratings among the participants, according to the researchers. Four out of five of the mental health indicators were unique predictors of physical health.

The findings, recently published online in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, show the importance of emotional well-being on adolescents' physical health, the study authors said.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about teen health.

SOURCE: Applied Research in Quality of Life, news release, July 8, 2010

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