EVANSTON, Ill., July 19 (UPI) -- Adolescents who make it through their teen years with a positive outlook report better general health when they are adults, U.S. researchers say.
First author Lindsay Till Hoyt, a fifth-year doctoral student at Northwestern University, says the study finds teens with high positive well-being had a reduced risk of engaging in unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, binge drinking, using drugs and eating unhealthy foods as they transitioned into young adulthood.
"Our study shows that promoting and nurturing positive well-being during the teenage years may be a promising way to improve long-term health," Hoyt says in a statement.
The researchers analyzed data collected from 10,147 young people as part of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which began collecting data on these teens in 1994. There was follow up in 1996 and 2001.
The researchers used the measures of positive well-being during adolescence in 1994 to predict perceived general health and risky health behaviors as young adults in 2001.
"Our results show that positive well-being during adolescence is significantly associated with reporting excellent health in young adulthood," says study co-author Emma K. Adam, of Cells to Society: The Center on Social Disparities and Health within the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern. "Positive well-being is more than just the absence of depression; the influence of a teenager's positive well-being on long-term good health is present even after accounting for the negative health effects of experiencing depressive symptoms in adolescence."