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No man is happy who does not think himself so: The subjective well-being of adolescents


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Jessup, KJ 2006 , 'No man is happy who does not think himself so: The subjective well-being of adolescents', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Aristotle believed that humans were creatures whose lives were a process of
moving toward an end. That there must be one final end of all ends. For
Aristotle this was happiness. Subjective Well-Being is defined as an
empirically-based examination ofthe causes and correlates ofhappiness, and
is concerned with evaluations of well-being from the subject's perspective.
Subjective Well-Being consists of two components- one cognitive (Life
Satisfaction), and one affective (Positive and Negative Affect)- and it is
these three concepts that constitute the three dependent variables in this study.
It is proposed in this dissertation that there is a need to expand existing
knowledge regarding the Subjective Well-Being of adolescents, and to see if
past results can be confirmed with a large, Australian sample. In this study,
the independent variables of personality and psychosocial variables are
considered, as well as institutional experiences and competencies, mental
health, risk behaviours and beliefs, life events, and goals and life planning.
The dissertation centres on a sample of 2094 Grade 8 and Grade 10 students
drawn from 73 schools in Tasmania, across govemment, Catholic and nongovernment
sectors. Data were gathered as part of the Adolescent Health,
Education, and Well-Being Project, which was funded by the Australian
Research Council at the University of Tasmania, with the Tasmanian
Department of Education and the Tasmanian Department of Health and
Human Services as Industry Partners.
Three separate regression analyses were conducted on the dependent variables
of Life Satisfaction, Positive Affect, and Negative Affect, and three different
sets of predictors were found. This finding confirmed previous suppositions
that the three components of Subjective Well-Being should be assessed
separately (Diener, 1984, 1995). The following variables were found to be significant predictors of Life
Satisfaction: Confidence, Coping, Family Functioning, Suicide Ideation,
Parent's Marital Status, Idealism, Mental Health, Confidence at Getting
Desired Job, Family Finances, Internal Influences on Goal Setting, Number
Of Close Friends, and Family Attachment. Internal Influences on Goal
Setting, Coping, Confidence, and Confidence at Getting Desired Job were also
significant predictors of Positive Affect, as were Extracurricular Activities,
Benefits From Friendship, Benefits From Sport, Average Hours Spent Playing
Sport per Week, Self-Assessed Success in Studies of Society and
Environment (SOSE), and Voice. Mental Health was a predictor ofNegative
Affect as well as Life Satisfaction. External Influences on Goal Setting, Goal
Ambivalence, Risk Acceptance, Neuroticism, and Involuntary Contact with
Government Agencies were also significant predictors ofNegative Affect.
Variables that did not contribute significantly to the regression equations are
also discussed. Partial correlations were conducted to assess the impact of the
shared variables in the regression equations with interesting results.
Limitations of the study, implications drawn from the results and suggestions
for further research are also discussed.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Jessup, KJ
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