Thursday, June 4, 2009

What makes teenagers happy?

High school wasn't that long ago for me :-) so I never really asked myself what makes teenagers happy these days. I noticed however they all tweet, have an ipod, dress pretty Gothic and get drunk too much. But as I can't judge them only from what I see on the streets, I decided to run a small check. So I ended up reading this nice article on what makes teenagers happy:
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So you’re between the ages of 13 and 24. What makes you happy? A worried, weary parent might imagine the answer to sound something like this: Sex, drugs, a little rock ‘n’ roll. Maybe some cash, or at least the car keys.

Turns out the real answer is quite different. Spending time with family was the top answer to that open-ended question, according to an extensive survey — more than 100 questions asked of 1,280 people ages 13-24 — conducted by The Associated Press and MTV on the nature of happiness among America’s young people.

Next was spending time with friends, followed by time with a significant other. And even better for parents: Nearly three-quarters of young people say their relationship with their parents makes them happy.

Alcohol users are slightly less happy than those who don’t drink. The differences are more remarkable among 13-17 year olds; just 40 percent of those who drank in the last seven days reported being happy with life, versus 68 percent of those who didn’t. And 49 percent of illegal drug users reported being happy with life, compared with 66 percent of those who didn’t use drugs.

You might think money would be clearly tied to a general sense of happiness. But almost no one said “money” when asked what makes them happy, though people with the highest family incomes are generally happier with life. However, having highly educated parents is a stronger predictor of happiness than income.

Soul: Close to half say religion and spirituality are very important. And more than half say they believe there is a higher power that has an influence over things that make them happy. Beyond religion, simply belonging to an organized religious group makes people happier.

Also confirming existing research, Twenge says, is the finding that children of divorced parents are somewhat less likely to be happy. Among 13-17 year olds, 64 percent of those with parents still together said they wake up happy, compared to 47 percent of those with divorced parents.

And parents, here’s some more for you: Most young people in school say it makes them happy. Overwhelmingly, young people think marriage would make them happy and want to be married some day. Most also want to have kids.

Finally, when asked to name their heroes, nearly half of respondents mentioned one or both of their parents. The winner, by a nose: Mom.

5 comments:

Silvia said...

looking forward to seeing this years' results :-) wonder if there is a study for Europe...maybe you can share a link ;-)

bartman905 said...

Well, high school was about 100 years ago for me :P

Thanks for the blog post - this is timely for me as my son just turned into a teenager a few months ago.

Stay happy!

Silvia said...

thanks for stopping by :-) love your Japanese adventure blog...kawaii :-)

Heather Happymaker said...

Cool, thanks for the well-presented info. Other things may grab our interest, but it's the time we spend with loved ones that makes us feel happy and secure. Nice to know it's the same with teenagers!

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