"Will I Be Happy in High School?” Exploring How Interpersonal and Executive Functions Influence Adolescent Subjective Well-Being Across the Transition to High School
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The transition to high school is a stressful life event, with teenagers typically facing increased demands for independent academic work coupled with the need to establish new social networks. Students who successfully navigate this change have higher positive affect than those who find the transition rife with challenges. In addition, those who struggle to adjust post-transition experience increased negative affect and more mental health concerns – all of which are markers of subjective well-being (SWB). This study examined differences in youth SWB coinciding with the move to high school. Additionally, I explored the extent to which variations in teenagers’ executive functions (EFs) and positive relations with others predict SWB. To do so, I utilized self-report survey data from a community sample of 13-to-15-year-old adolescents (N = 106). Results showed that post-transition, youth reported significantly lower SWB, as reflected by less life satisfaction and more psychological distress. Psychological distress was higher in adolescent girls, those who experienced more EF challenges, and teenagers with weaker social relationships. Findings were similar for life satisfaction with one notable difference. For adolescents with average to low positive relations with others, greater EF difficulties predicted lower life satisfaction. However, strong social relationships buffered the impact of EF challenges on this aspect of SWB. I discuss how mechanisms accounting for the protective effect of positive social relationships for youth with EF challenges will be crucial to explore in future research.
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Fatima Wasif (2022). "Will I Be Happy in High School?” Exploring How Interpersonal and Executive Functions Influence Adolescent Subjective Well-Being Across the Transition to High School. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/18504