Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Happy Adolescence Leads to Happy Adulthood...and Divorce

So now when I look at pics like this, I know around 20%
of these excited kids will be divorced. Thanks science!
From English Subject Centre.
Apparently in keeping with this week's divorce theme, the Vancouver Sun reports that a happy adolescence increases the likelihood of a happy adulthood, but also increases the likelihood of divorce. This information comes from a study in the The Journal of Positive Psychology that analyzed data on 2,776 British citizens born in 1946. The data concerned teacher evaluations of students aged 13 to 15, rating them on their popularity, ease of making friends, energy levels, and overall happiness.

This interesting rating method revealed that around 20% of the kids who scored highly in multiple areas were divorced by age 53, compared to around 16% of the kids who scored poorly, even with no change in the likelihood of marriage. The difference of four percent appears small, but is significant enough to warrant further investigation. (For comparison, the divorce rate in the United States is somewhere around 43%, increasing to around 75% the more marriages a person has.)

The study, carried out by Felicia Huppert of the University of Cambridge and Marcus Richards of Britain's Medical Research Council, says, "The explanation for this is not immediately obvious and warrants further investigation. One possible factor might be that positive children have higher self-esteem or self-efficacy than their peers and are therefore more willing to leave a marriage if it is not meeting their needs."

HOWEVER, before you try to protect teenagers by making them sad, the study goes on to say that the benefits of a happy adolescence outweigh the downsides. Happy teenagers go on to become adults who are more satisfied with their jobs, more social, and 60% less likely to develop mental disorders. Whew!


  1. Well, if you're no longer happy in your marriage but care about happiness, then it makes sense you'd want to get a divorce and continue on with your happiness... with soemone new, perhaps. On the other hand, if you've never been particularly happy, you might consider carrying on with whatever marriage you have... Makes sense, if you look at it this way lol

  2. Yes, that does make a lot of sense. As long as they're making the right decision for themselves, I guess it shouldn't be looked at as a negative thing! (Unless they have kids, in which case it's usually negative whether they want it to be or not.)