Felicia Huppert of the University of Cambridge and colleagues analyzed data from 2,776 individuals who participated in the 1946 British birth study.
Teachers rated teens ages 13-15 and gave each one point if the student was very popular with other children, unusually happy and contented, made friends extremely easily and extremely energetic, never tired.
The teachers also rated conduct problems -- restlessness, daydreaming, disobedience, lying, etc. -- and emotional problems -- anxiety, fearfulness, diffidence, avoidance of attention, etc.
Decades later, the researchers found children with positive adolescence were much less likely than others to develop mental disorders throughout their lives -- 60 percent.
The study, published in The Journal of Positive Psychology, found teens rated positively by their teachers were significantly more likely than those who received no positive ratings to have higher work satisfaction, more frequent contact with family and friends, and more regular engagement in social and leisure activities.
"The benefits to individuals, families and to society of good mental health, positive relationships and satisfying work are likely to be substantial," Huppert says in a statement.