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Predictor variables of happiness and its connection with risk and protective factors for health

Predictor variables of happiness and its connection with risk and protective factors for health ORIGINAL RESEARCH published: 12 August 2015 doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01176 Predictor variables of happiness and its connection with risk and protective factors for health Maite Garaigordobil* Faculty of Psychology, University of the Basque Country, Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain Great thinkers, philosophers, scientists, and artists from History have often been concerned about one of the most important elements of life: happiness. The study had four goals: (1) To analyze possible differences in feelings of happiness as a function of sex and age; (2) To explore the relations of happiness with risk factors (psychopathological symptoms, behavior problems) and protective factors (self-concept-self-esteem, cooperative behavior, social skills) for health; (3) To identify predictor variables of happiness; and (4) To explore whether self-esteem mediates the relationship between happiness and psychopathological symptoms. The sample comprised 286 adolescents (14–16 years old). The study used a descriptive, correlational, and Edited by: cross-sectional methodology. Seven assessment instruments were administered. The Jesus De La Fuente, University of Almería, Spain ANOVAs confirm that there are no sex differences, but happiness decreases as age Reviewed by: increases. Pearson coefficients show that adolescents with more feelings of happiness Ankita Sharma, had fewer psychopathological symptoms (somatization, obsession–compulsion, Indian Institute of Technology interpersonal sensitivity, depression, anxiety, hostility, phobic anxiety, paranoid ideation, Jodhpur, India José Manuel Muñoz, psychoticism...), fewer behavioral problems (school-academic, antisocial behavior, Universidad de Cádiz, Spain shyness-withdrawal, psychopathological, psychosomatic), high social adaptation, high *Correspondence: self-concept/self-esteem, many cooperative behaviors, many appropriate social skills, Maite Garaigordobil, Faculty of Psychology, University and few negative social skills (inappropriate assertiveness, impulsiveness, jealousy- of the Basque Country, Avenida withdrawal). Multiple regression analysis identified five variables predicting happiness: de Tolosa 70, 20018 high self-concept, few symptoms of depression, many cooperative behaviors, high Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain maite.garaigordobil@ehu.es self-esteem, and low psychoticism. Results showed a partial mediational effect of self- esteem in the relation between happiness and psychopathological symptoms. The Specialty section: discussion focuses on the importance of implementing programs to promote feelings This article was submitted to Educational Psychology, of happiness, as well as protective factors for health (self-esteem, cooperation...). a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology Keywords: psychology, happiness, psychopathology, social behavior, self-esteem, cooperation, sex, adolescence Received: 04 January 2015 Accepted: 27 July 2015 Published: 12 August 2015 Introduction Citation: Garaigordobil M (2015) Predictor Great thinkers, philosophers, scientists, and artists from History have often been concerned about variables of happiness and its one of the most important elements of life: happiness. Although all human beings know and use the connection with risk and protective concept of happiness, there is no agreement about the definition of this construct. In ancient times, factors for health. the concept of happiness focused on good luck, and the gods played an important role. Although Front. Psychol. 6:1176. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01176 in recent years, we are witnessing a great interest aroused by this topic, the old time philosophers Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 1 August 2015 | Volume 6 | Article 1176 Garaigordobil Predictor variables of happiness (Aristotle, Socrates, Epicurus, Seneca...) already argued about studies suggest a U-form model, finding that the highest levels it. Aristotle distinguished a moral life (necessary to maintain of happiness are achieved around 20–29 years of age, and after happiness) from a material life (necessary to meet the basic 50 years (Blanchflower and Oswald, 2006). needs), underlining the need for both (Anderson et al., 2011). The concept of happiness has been studied from different For Socrates, virtue is the necessary and sufficient condition approaches, and diverse investigations have analyzed the for happiness. However, in the Declaration of Independence of correlations of happiness with other constructs such as health, Jefferson in 1776, the pursuit of happiness was included as a personality traits, behaviors... According to Argyle (1997), human right. Therefore, happiness went from being related to happiness affects health and vice versa. When discussing health, luck and considered as being passive to being considered a we refer both to physical and mental health. Thus, Bartels et al. more active construct. Currently, happiness is understood as (2013) found a negative relation between subjective well-being something that humans beings can control and achieve (Kesebir and psychopathology in a sample of adolescents (12–20 years). In and Diener, 2008; Oishi, 2012). the same direction, Agbaria et al. (2012) showed that the happier In research on happiness, two perspectives are differentiated: adolescents are, the fewer symptoms they have. In research hedonism and eudaimonia (Deci and Ryan, 2000; Ryan and with adults, these results are ratified because hedonic behaviors Deci, 2001). Hedonic well-being is based on the subjective predicted less stress and depression (Henderson et al., 2013). assessment of quality of life, including both positive and negative Another line of research has correlated happiness and affects as well as the cognitive assessment of life satisfaction, personality. In a study carried out with adults, happiness and it is related to obtaining pleasure. However, a satisfactory correlated negatively with neuroticism and positively with life cannot be associated only with pleasure and therefore, extraversion (Hills and Argyle, 2001) and openness (Pelechano eudaimonic well-being focuses on peoples’ full functioning and et al., 2013). In thesamedirection, Garaigordobil et al. (2009), commitment; happiness can only be achieved as the result in a sample aged between 20–40 years, found that subjective optimal psychological functioning, the consequence of people psychological well-being was positively related toextraversion developing their true nature, their potential, to the full; from and negatively related to neuroticism and psychoticism. the standpoint of eudaimonia, profound well-being requires Research with adolescents and university students has autonomy, competence, and affiliation or creation of affective underlined that happiness is positively related to friendship links. (Demir and Davidson, 2013), altruism, social skills (Demir et al., Happiness has been defined as the appraisal, both affective 2012), cooperation (Rigby et al., 1997), academic success, and and cognitive, of one’s own life, consisting of general satisfaction self-esteem (Salmela-Aro and Tuominen-Soini, 2010; Sato and with life, the presence of positive affects and the absence of Yuki, 2014). Recent studies (Cheung et al., 2014) also suggest negative ones (Diener et al., 1999). Lyubomirsky et al. (2005) that people with higher self-control are happier possibly because define happiness as a subjectively assessed phenomenon that is they are: (1) more promotion-focused on acquiring positive determined both by positive and negative affects, and by life gains thereby facilitating more approach-oriented behaviors, and satisfaction. The RICH theory (Kehle, 1999; Kehle et al., 2002) (2) less prevention-focused on avoiding losses thereby reducing defines happiness as a synonym of psychological health and, avoidance-oriented behaviors. accordingly, happy people have four characteristics: resources Within the debate on the bidirectional relationship between (feeling of independence or control over one’s life), intimacy happiness and health, in 2011, the Coca-Cola Institute of (friendship, empathy, and capacity to enjoy the company of other Happiness and the Faculty of Psychology at the Complutense people), competence (capacities and awareness of these skills), University of Madrid (2011), in collaboration with the research and health (being aware of and practicing healthy behaviors). team directed by Professor Vazquez of the Complutense However, subjective well-being comprehends a broad range of University of Madrid, prepared a report entitled “Happiness and components such as happiness, life satisfaction, hedonic balance, the Perception of Health.” In this research, interviews with 3,000 and realization, consisting of the affective and cognitive appraisal people aged 18–65 were carried out. The results showed that, in of one’s own life (Kim-Prieto et al., 2005). the face of a health problem, happier people feel healthier than Regarding sex differences in feelings of happiness, most of unhappier people. Health can influence happiness but not all the studies carried out with adolescents and adults have found health problems imply a decrease in the level of life satisfaction. no differences as a function of sex (Huebner et al., 2000; In general, the presence of certain psychological problems Csikszentmihalyi and Hunter, 2003; Park and Huebner, 2005; (depression, stress, insomnia, addictions, anorexia, etc.), physical Hervás, 2009; Vera et al., 2012; Uusitalo-Malmivaara and Lehto, illnesses, and psychophysiological disorders (cardiovascular 2013; Hunagund and Hangal, 2014), but some studies have found diseases, stomachache, migraines/headaches, obesity, cancer, significant differences between men and women, with women disabilities, etc.) have a negative impact on life satisfaction, obtaining higher scores in happiness (Aldous and Ganey, 1999). whereas other disorders such as hypertension, diabetes, or sexual With regard to age, few studies have investigated its relation dysfunction, among others, are not related to life satisfaction. with happiness, and, moreover, the results are discrepant. Some The study also emphasized the relationship between well-being studies have found no differences as a function of age (Huebner and health, showing that unhappier people have more health et al., 2000; Hervás, 2009), whereas others reveal differences problems, with the exception of allergies and skin problems. This (Lacey et al., 2012). The work of Vera et al. (2012) reported relationship was strongest with psychological disorders versus that higher age predicts low levels of happiness, whereas other diseases of a more physical nature. In addition, the investigation Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 2 August 2015 | Volume 6 | Article 1176 Garaigordobil Predictor variables of happiness confirmed the importance of family and friends as a factor that be found between feelings of happiness and psychopathological enhances well-being. symptoms (somatization, obsession–compulsion, interpersonal Subsequent analyses with data from the sample of this study sensitivity, depression, anxiety, hostility, phobic anxiety, (Vázquez et al., 2015) have shown that, although physical and paranoid ideation, psychoticism, and additional) and behavior psychological problems both had an impact on life satisfaction, problems (school-academic problems, antisocial behavior, greater effect sizes were generally found for psychological rather shyness-withdrawal, psychopathological disorders, anxiety than for physical illness. Regression analysis, controlling for problems, psychosomatic disorders), and negative social skills the effects of comorbidity and sociodemographic variables (e.g., (inappropriate assertiveness, overconfidence, impulsiveness, age, gender, marital status, employment status, and educational jealousy/withdrawal). (H3) Positive correlations will be found level), revealed a significant impact on life satisfaction of cancer between feelings of happiness and protective factors for health, and migraine (in the domain of physical problems), and of such as self-concept-self-esteem, the capacity of cooperation, depression, lack of concentration, insomnia, and stress/anxiety and diverse appropriate social skills related to sociability and (in the domain of psychological problems). Further multivariate emotional expression. (H4) High scores in protective factors analyses were conducted to estimate decreases in the Satisfaction (many positive social cooperative behaviors, high self-concept- with Life Scale for each of the conditions assessed. A lack self-esteem) and low scores in risk factors (psychopathological of significant interactions revealed that the effect of comorbid symptoms, behavior problems) will be predictors of feelings of physical and/or psychological problems could be additive. happiness. (H5) Self-esteem will be a mediator variable of the The present results show that people who have psychological relation between happiness and psychopathological symptoms. problems display a marked decrease in life satisfaction. On a whole, this negative impact is significantly greater than the decrease associated with physical problems. To see in detail Materials and Methods the connections between psychological well-being and health, Participants consult the review of the meta-analytical studies performed by Vázquez (2013). The sample comprised 286 Spanish adolescents aged between 14 and 16 years, 148 male (51.7%) and 138 female (48.3%). Regarding variables that predict happiness, in general, few investigations have carried out predictive analyses. Nevertheless, Of them, 46.5% were 14 years old, 35.2% were 15, and 18.2% were 16 (M = 14.72 years, SD = 0.75). The participants belong some studies have identified the predictive power of cooperation (Lu and Argyle, 1991) and sociability (Csikszentmihalyi and to six schools of diverse socioeconomic levels (50% public and 50% private). Of the entire sample, 62.9% are in third grade of Hunter, 2003; Easterlin, 2006; Uusitalo-Malmivaara and Lehto, 2013). High levels of self-esteem-self-concept have secondary education and 37.1% are in fourth grade. Of them, also been shown to be predictors of psychological well-being 11.9% (n = 34) had previously consulted a psychologist for (Garaigordobil et al., 2009). Lastly, health has been considered school problems associated with situations of separation from the as a factor predicting happiness (Easterlin, 2006; Angner parents, nervousness-anxiety..., and currently 5.2% (n = 15) still et al., 2013) and the relation between these two variables is have difficulties and are treated by a psychologist. The sample bidirectional. was randomly selected from the list of centers of the province of Gipuzkoa. In recent years, research on self-esteem has been gaining relevance within the context of the identification of protective Procedure factors against psychological problems. Its importance for personal well-being, mental health, professional success, social The study uses a descriptive and correlational cross-sectional relationships, academic performance, and so on has been the methodology, and attempts to establish concomitant relations focus of numerous research projects in the human and social among feelings of happiness and a broad range of variables sciences. (psychopathological symptoms, behavior problems, self-concept- Taking as reference the above-mentioned studies, this work self-esteem, capacity of cooperation, and social skills), as well had four goals: (1) To analyze possible differences in feelings of as to identify predictor variables. For this purpose, firstly, a happiness as a function of sex and age; (2) To explore the relations letter was sent to the headmasters of the randomly selected of happiness with risk factors (psychopathological symptoms, schools, explaining the project and requesting their collaboration. behavior problems) and protective factors (self-concept-self- Those who agreed to collaborate were interviewed in order esteem, cooperative behavior, social skills) for health; (3) To to present the project and give them the informed consent identify predictor variables of happiness; and (4) To explore forms for the participants’ parents. If the center director decided whether self-esteem mediates the relationship between happiness not to collaborate, the procedure was repeated with the next and psychopathological symptoms. Taking into account the center on the list, taking into account the network (private– relevant role of positive feelings in physical and mental health, public) and/or the socio-economic-cultural level of the center and based on the review of previous studies, in this investigation, that would not participate. After receiving the parents’ consent, five hypotheses were proposed: (H1) No sex differences will a team of psychology graduates went to the schools to administer be found, but, taking into account the typical tensions of the assessment instruments. The adolescents completed the six adolescence, it is expected that feelings of happiness will decrease assessment instruments in two 30-min sessions. In addition, they between ages 14 and 16 years. (H2) Negative correlations will received an envelope containing a scale of behavior problems Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 3 August 2015 | Volume 6 | Article 1176 Garaigordobil Predictor variables of happiness (BPS) to be completed by their parents. This study met the including general signs of emotional stress and its psychosomatic ethical values required in research with human beings, respecting manifestations), hostility (thoughts, feelings and behaviors the fundamental principles (informed consent and right to of aggressiveness, anger, irritability, rage, and resentment), information, protection of personal data and guarantees of phobic anxiety (focusing more on the scale of social phobia and confidentiality, non-discrimination, and freedom to leave the agoraphobia symptoms than on that of simple phobia), paranoid study at any stage). This study was carried out in accordance ideation (paranoid behavior, considered mainly as the response with the recommendations of the Vice-Rectorate of Research to a delusional disorder including suspiciousness, self-referential of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). This centralism and delirious ideation, hostility, grandiosity, fear of Vice-Rectorate approved the study and partially financed it loss of autonomy, and need for control), psychoticism (in the (1/UPV0006.231-H-15910.2004). general population, it is more frequently associated with feelings of social alienation than with clinically manifest psychosis), Instruments and additional scale (miscellaneous symptoms that make up a clear referent of melancholic depression). Furthermore, the test Seven assessment instruments with psychometric guarantees were used to measure the following variables: happiness, makes it possible to calculate the General Symptomatic Index (GSI), which is a standard and indiscriminate measure of the psychopathological symptoms, behavioral problems, self- concept, self-esteem, capacity of cooperation, and social intensity of global psychosomatic and psychic suffering, the Positive Symptom Total (PST), which is the number of existing skills. symptoms, and the Positive Symptom Distress Index (PSDI), The Oxford Happiness Questionnaire (OHQ; Hills and which links suffering or global distress with the number of Argyle, 2002) symptoms. Adolescents report the frequency with which they The OHQ was derived from the Oxford Happiness Inventory have experienced these symptoms during the last month. Studies (OHI), which, reduced 29 items, attempts to measure the have shown the reliability of the test (α = between 0.81 and happiness of a general nature of each individual, that is, 0.90) and construct validity. The internal consistency obtained psychological well-being. For example, “I am not particularly with the sample of this study was suitable for the whole set of optimistic about the future,” “I am well satisfied about everything symptoms (GSI, α = 0.89). in my life,” “I am very happy,” “Life is good,” and “I always Behavioral Problems Scale (BPS; Navarro et al., 1993) have a cheerful effect on others”... The person expresses the degree of agreement with the statements on a 6-point Likert This 99-item scale is filled in by the parents to assess behavioral problems. The items are grouped in seven scales: school-academic scale (1 = strongly disagree; 6 = strongly agree). The studies problems (related to low academic performance), antisocial carried out with a sample of people aged between 13 and 68 years verified the good reliability of this scale (α = 0.91). The construct behavior (behaviors that may be classified as aggressive, and other behaviors that are not aggressive but might impair social validity of the OHI was assessed through its associations with different measures of individual differences of cognitive traits and relationships), shyness-withdrawal (tendency to solitude and susceptibility in social relationships), psychopathological disorders variables. In the original study, the associations of the OHI and the OHQ were compared, obtaining significant correlations. In (serious problems which generally have a depressive component), anxiety problems (behaviors that express fear and/or anxiety this sample, Cronbach’s α reached 0.86, indicating good internal consistency. generalized form), psychosomatic disorders (physical disorders without medical cause), and a positive scale of social adjustment Symptoms Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R; (adjustment to social rules). Parents must report whether or not Derogatis, 1983; Spanish adaptation of González de their children engage in these behaviors. As regards the reliability Rivera et al., 2002) of the scale, information about the internal consistency of the This self-report has 90 items distributed into 10 scales, which whole BPS has been gathered (α = 0.88). To test the criterion validity, the BPS was applied to different samples of children and report the psychopathological disorders: somatization (bodily dysfunctions, neurovegetative disorders in cardiovascular, adolescents (referred by the school psychologist due to problems at school, referred to a clinical psychologist, and prison inmates respiratory, gastrointestinal, and muscular systems), obsession– compulsion (behaviors, thoughts, and impulses that the subject due to criminal problems), and the multiple regression analysis showed that belonging to different criterion groups was the considers absurd and undesirable, which create deep anguish and which are hard to resist, avoid, or get rid of), interpersonal variable that presented the highest level of relations with the BPS scores. Reliability analysis with the sample of this study showed sensitivity (feelings of shyness and embarrassment, tendency to feel inferior to others, hypersensitivity to other people’s opinions good internal consistency (α = between 0.70 and 0.83). and attitudes and, in general, awkwardness and inhibition in Adjective Checklist for Self-Concept Assessment interpersonal relations), depression (clinical signs and symptoms of depressive disorders, including dysphoric experiences, with Adolescents and Adults (ACSA; Garaigordobil, 2011) anhedonia, hopelessness, impotence, and lack of energy, as well as self-destructive ideas and other cognitive and somatic This checklist is made up of 57 positive adjectives (attractive, manifestations typical of depressive states), anxiety (clinical friendly, cooperative, intelligent, creative...) which respondents manifestations of anxiety, both generalized and acute or “panic,” are asked to score on a scale of 0–4 (not at all – very much) Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 4 August 2015 | Volume 6 | Article 1176 Garaigordobil Predictor variables of happiness according to the degree to which the items define or describe sharing); Inappropriate Assertiveness (aggressive behaviors, their personality. Studies of validity and reliability confirm its making fun of or abusing others); Impulsiveness (behaviors such psychometric properties. A study carried out with a sample as getting angry easily or interrupting others); Overconfidence of 1,578 participants obtained a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.92. In (overvaluing oneself); and Jealousy-Withdrawal (feelings of order to analyze the validity of the ACSA, correlations were loneliness, lack of friends). Item examples of each scale are: “I calculated with other instrument measuring self-esteem (RSE; know how to make friends” (social skills), “I get back at people Rosenberg, 1965), obtaining significant positive correlations who offend me” (inappropriate assertiveness), “I interrupt others (r = 0.63, p < 0.001). Furthermore, other analysis carried when they are talking” (impulsiveness), “I like to brag about the out indicated significant negative relationships of self-concept things I have” (overconfidence), and “I feel jealous of others” (ACSA) with psychopathological symptoms (Derogatis, 1983). (jealousy/withdrawal). This instrument is made up of 62 items, Reliability analysis with the sample of this study presented high with response options rated on a 4-point Likert scale ranging internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.95). from 1 (never)to4(always). A study carried out with the Spanish version of the MESSY in a sample of 634 adolescents Self-Esteem Scale (RSE; Rosenberg, 1965) of ages 12–17 showed high internal consistency (Cronbach’s This scale assesses general self-esteem with 10 statements α = 0.88). In this study, Pearson correlation coefficients were focusing on global feelings of self-appraisal (“On the whole, I calculated between the total MESSY score and other measures am satisfied with myself”); five of them are drafted positively the of assertiveness and social skills. Inappropriate social behaviors other five negatively. The subject must read the statements and had negative correlations with prosocial behavior and positive report the extent to which they apply to him/her, using a Likert- correlations with aggressiveness and antisocial behavior. The type scale with four response categories (ranging from strongly internal consistency obtained with the sample of the present agree to strongly disagree). The reliability of the test has been study was adequate in appropriate skills (α = 0.86) and negative broadly documented in the literature. McCarthy and Hoge (1982) behaviors (α = 0.84). have reported consistency coefficients (Cronbach’s α)ranging from 0.74 to 0.77, and test–retest reliability of 0.63 (interval of 7 months) and of 0.85 (interval of 2 weeks). The validity of the Results scale as a one-dimensional measure of self-esteem has also been Feelings of Happiness: Differences as a proven in several studies (Silber and Tippett, 1965). The internal consistency obtained with the sample of the present study was Function of Sex and Age adequate (α = 0.82). In order to analyze possible differences in feelings of happiness as a function of sex and age, after confirming the basic assumptions Cooperativeness Scale (CS; Rigby et al., 1997) (homogeneity, homoscedasticity...), we performed analysis of This 18-item scale measures the individual’s capacity to cooperate variance, the results of which are presented in Table 1. with others, defining cooperation as behaving conjointly and The results (see Table 1) show that there were no differences coordinately at work, leisure, or in social relationships, for between boys and girls in feelings of happiness, F(1,284) = 0.09, the pleasure of sharing activities, goals, or simply to enhance p = 0.343, η = 0.003; r = 0.05. However, there were significant relationships. Participants rate their responses on a 5-point differences as a function of age, F(2,283) = 7.20, p = 0.001; Likert scale, ranging from 1 (totally disagree)to5 (totally agree). η = 0.049; r = 0.22, observing a decrease in happiness as age Of the 18 items of the test, nine reflect cooperative attitudes increased from 14 to 16 years. In addition, the Bonferroni group and nine uncooperative attitudes. Item examples are: “Team comparison tests showed that the group of 14-year-olds scored work is the best way to get results” “It is more productive significantly higher than the groups of 15- and 16-year-olds (Post to work alone.” In the authors’ study, conducted in Australia with a sample of adolescents, adequate reliability was obtained (Cronbach’s α = 0.77). In this same study, concurrent validity was TABLE 1 | Means and SD in feelings of happiness by sex and age. examined in a sample of students, controlling age and obtaining Sex Age nM SD correlations with other measures. The results showed that the correlation of cooperation with the number of friends was low Male 14 61 129.82 15.45 (r < 0.20), and the quality of friendships was a better indicator 15 52 118.08 19.67 of cooperation than the number of friends, thus confirming a 16 35 117.49 17.68 significant link between cooperation and happiness. Reliability Total 148 122.78 18.41 analysis with the sample of this study showed good internal Female 14 72 122.99 20.10 consistency (α = 0.87). 15 49 120.39 17.30 16 17 115.12 18.86 The Matson Evaluation of Social Skills in Youngsters Total 138 121.09 19.04 (MESSY; Matson et al., 1983; Spanish adaptation of Total 14 133 126.12 18.37 Méndez et al., 2002) 15 101 119.20 18.50 The scale evaluates five factors: Appropriate Social Skills 16 52 116.71 17.92 (behaviors such as emotional expressiveness, having friends, Total 286 121.97 18.70 Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 5 August 2015 | Volume 6 | Article 1176 Garaigordobil Predictor variables of happiness hoc:14 > 15,16). The Sex Age interaction was not significant, The results (see Table 2) confirmed, firstly, significant F(1,284) = 1.79, p = 0.168, η = 0.013; r = 0.11. correlations between feelings of happiness and all the psychopathological symptoms assessed, which were of a greater magnitude (moderate-large) with symptoms of interpersonal Feelings of Happiness: Relations with sensitivity, depression, psychoticism, and the three global Psychopathological Symptoms, Behavior psychopathology indexes. Therefore, the data suggest that Problems, Self-Concept-Self-Esteem, adolescents with considerable feelings of happiness had fewer Cooperative Behavior, and Social Skills psychopathological symptoms of somatization, obsession– To explore the relations between feelings of happiness, risk compulsion, interpersonal sensitivity, depression, anxiety, factors (psychopathological symptoms, behavior problems), and hostility, phobic anxiety, paranoid ideation, psychoticism, protective factors (cooperation, social skills, self-concept-self- additional, and lower levels in the indexes GSI, PST, and esteem) for health, we performed Pearson correlation analyses PSDI. with the entire sample, the results of which are presented in Secondly, negative correlations (of a medium-low magnitude) Table 2. were also found between happiness and parent-assessed behavior problems (school-academic problems, antisocial behavior, shyness-withdrawal, psychopathological disorders, psychosomatic disorders), and positive correlations with social TABLE 2 | Pearson correlation coefficients between happiness and adjustment. No significant relation was found with anxiety psychopathology, behavioral problems, self-concept, self-esteem, and social behaviors. problems. The data show that adolescents with high scores in happiness had few school-academic problems, infrequent Happiness antisocial behavior, few problems of shyness-withdrawal, few SCL-90-R. Psychopathological Symptoms psychopathological and psychosomatic disorders, as well as high ∗∗∗ Somatization −0.33 social adjustment (see Table 2). ∗∗∗ Obsession–compulsion −0.46 Thirdly, positive correlations between feelings of ∗∗∗ Interpersonal sensitivity −0.55 happiness and self-concept/self-esteem, capacity for ∗∗∗ Depression −0.58 cooperation and appropriate social skills were found, as ∗∗∗ Anxiety −0.40 well as negative correlations with negative social skills ∗∗∗ Hostility −0.43 (inappropriate assertiveness, impulsiveness, overconfidence, ∗∗∗ Phobic anxiety −0.37 jealousy-withdrawal). The relations with self-concept/self-esteem ∗∗∗ Paranoid ideation −0.42 were of a large magnitude, and the relations with cooperative ∗∗∗ Psychoticism −0.52 behavior and jealousy-withdrawal were moderate. Hence, the ∗∗∗ Additional −0.47 data show that adolescents with high scores in happiness had high ∗∗∗ General Symptomatic Index (GSI) −0.58 self-concept, high self-esteem, they performed many cooperative ∗∗∗ Positive Symptom Total (PST) −0.55 behaviors with others, and had appropriate social skills related to ∗∗∗ Positive Symptom Distress Index (PSDI) −0.54 sociability and emotional expression (see Table 2). BPS. Behavioral Problems In order to contrast the results obtained with the correlations ∗∗∗ School-academic problems −0.32 observed, we explored whether the adolescents who had high ∗∗ Antisocial behavior −0.21 scores in feelings of happiness displayed significant differences ∗∗∗ Shyness-withdrawal −0.29 in the target variables of the study when comparing them ∗∗∗ Psychopathological disorders −0.24 with adolescents who obtained low or medium scores. For this Anxiety problems −0.06 ns purpose, firstly, we divided the sample into three profiles as a ∗∗∗ Psychosomatic disorders −0.30 function of their scores on the OHQ, emphasizing the extremes: ∗∗∗ Social adaptation 0.36 Profile 1 (low level of happiness, percentile scores 1–15; 16.8%), ∗∗∗ Behavioral problems total −0.35 Profile 2 (medium level of happiness, percentile scores 16–84; ACSA – RSE. Self-concept/self-esteem 67.8%) and Profile 3 (high level of happiness percentiles ≤85; ∗∗∗ Self-concept −0.61 15.4%). Subsequently, we performed descriptive analyses (means ∗∗∗ Self-esteem −0.54 and SDs) and analysis of variance as a function of the happiness CS. Cooperativeness profile, calculating the effect size (Eta), and post hoc group ∗∗∗ Cooperative behavior 0.47 comparisons (Bonferroni), the results of which are presented in MESSY. Social skills Table 3. ∗∗∗ Appropriate social skills 0.33 As shown in Table 3, the adolescents who had low scores ∗∗∗ Inappropriate assertiveness −0.27 in feelings of happiness (Profile 1), had significantly more ∗∗∗ Impulsiveness −0.32 psychopathological symptoms (in all the scales assessed Overconfidence −0.12 and in the three global indexes), and many behavior ∗∗∗ Jealousy-withdrawal −0.52 problems (school-academic, antisocial behavior, shyness- ∗∗∗ Negative social skills total −0.38 withdrawal, psychopathological and psychosomatic problems). ∗ ∗∗ ∗∗∗ p < 0.05, p < 0.01, p < 0.001, ns = non-significant. Moreover, the adolescents with few feelings of happiness had Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 6 August 2015 | Volume 6 | Article 1176 Garaigordobil Predictor variables of happiness TABLE 3 | Means and SD of all the variables in the three happiness profiles (low, medium, high), and results of the analysis of variance as a function of profile, effect size (Eta), and post hoc tests (Bonferroni). Profile 1 (n = 48) Profile 2 (n = 194) Profile 3 (n = 44) F(2,284) profile Eta Post hoc M (SD) M (SD) M (SD) SCL-90-R. Psychopathological Symptoms ∗∗∗ Somatization 1.22 (0.72) 0.74 (0.54) 0.57 (0.38) 7.87 0.113 1 > 2,3 ∗∗∗ Obsession–compulsion 1.51 (0.75) 0.86 (0.64) 0.53 (0.31) 13.67 0.181 1 > 2,3 ∗∗∗ Interpersonal sensitivity 1.67 (0.84) 0.82 (0.58) 0.48 (0.28) 22.49 0.266 1 > 2,3 ∗∗∗ Depression 1.75 (1.01) 0.63 (0.51) 0.30 (0.20) 37.34 0.376 1 > 2 > 3 ∗∗∗ Anxiety 1.01 (0.84) 0.47 (0.42) 0.35 (0.34) 11.32 0.154 1 > 2,3 ∗∗∗ Hostility 1.40 (1.12) 0.51 (0.49) 0.29 (0.26) 21.35 0.256 1 > 2,3 ∗∗∗ Phobic anxiety 0.57 (0.67) 0.18 (0.29) 0.09 (0.14) 11.26 0.154 1 > 2,3 ∗∗∗ Paranoid ideation 1.27 (0.71) 0.64 (0.59) 0.40 (0.30) 13.03 0.174 1 > 2,3 ∗∗∗ Psychoticism 0.91 (0.81) 0.27 (0.36) 0.06 (0.10) 22.13 0.263 1 > 2,3 ∗∗∗ Additional 1.46 (0.93) 0.71 (0.57) 0.36 (0.34) 17.88 0.224 1 > 2 > 3 ∗∗∗ GSI 1.31 (0.68) 0.60 (0.38) 0.35 (0.17) 30.59 0.330 1 > 2 > 3 ∗∗∗ PST 54.79 (18.94) 35.53 (17.08) 25.74 (11.16) 16.73 0.213 1 > 2 > 3 ∗∗∗ PSDI 2.03 (0.54) 1.44 (0.38) 1.23 (0.16) 25.57 0.292 1 > 2,3 BPS. Behavioral Problems ∗∗∗ School-academic problems 11.79 (5.21) 5.88 (5.71) 3.91 (5.64) 11.32 0.154 1 > 2,3 ∗∗∗ Antisocial behavior 10.58 (7.27) 5.29 (7.27) 4.78 (3.50) 11.66 0.158 1 > 2,3 Shyness-withdrawal 9.37 (4.93) 6.80 (3.77) 6.00 (3.39) 4.36 0.066 1 > 2,3 ∗∗ Psychopathological disorders 5.63 (4.42) 3.01 (2.47) 2.87 (2.94) 6.68 0.097 1 > 2,3 Anxiety problems 5.42 (2.16) 4.72 (2.72) 4.22 (2.43) 1.12 ns 0.018 – ∗∗ Psychosomatic disorders 3.42 (2.56) 1.67 (2.32) 1.22 (1.16) 6.04 0.089 1 > 2,3 ∗∗∗ Social adaptation 20.84 (4.29) 25.34 (4.15) 26.65 (3.79) 11.83 0.160 1 > 2,3 ∗∗∗ Behavioral problems total 46.21 (17.44) 27.38 (15.10) 23.00 (13.48) 14.42 0.189 1 > 2,3 ACSA – RSE. Self-concept/self-esteem ∗∗∗ Self-concept 2.05 (0.41) 2.56 (0.44) 2.90 (0.26) 22.64 0.268 1 < 2 < 3 ∗∗∗ Self-esteem 24.53 (5.62) 30.11 (5.20) 34.04 (2.94) 19.36 0.238 1 < 2 < 3 CS. Cooperativeness ∗∗∗ Cooperative behavior 64.58 (8.12) 69.69 (7.58) 79.26 (4.27) 23.95 0.279 1 < 2 < 3 MESSY. Social skills Appropriate social skills 66.84 (7.81) 70.81 (8.08) 74.26 (7.65) 4.51 0.068 1 < 3 Inappropriate assertiveness 29.42 (7.77) 25.48 (6.21) 23.22 (4.69) 5.26 0.078 1 > 2,3 ∗∗ Impulsiveness 10.84 (1.89) 9.48 (2.21) 8.52 (1.56) 6.58 0.096 1 > 2,3 Overconfidence 8.11 (2.92) 8.24 (2.31) 7.87 (1.54) 0.23 ns 0.004 – ∗∗∗ Jealousy-withdrawal 14.21 (4.03) 10.68 (2.82) 9.17 (1.07) 17.59 0.221 1 > 2,3 ∗∗∗ Negative social skills total 62.58 (1.07) 53.88 (10.83) 48.78 (7.27) 8.82 0.125 1 > 2,3 ∗ ∗∗ ∗∗ ∗ p < 0.05, p < 0.01, p < 0.001, ns, non-significant. Profile 1 low happiness (percentile 1–15). Profile 2 medium happiness (percentile 16–84). Profile 3 high happiness (≤85); Eta, Effect size; post hoc = Bonferroni group comparison test. low self-concept/self-esteem, few cooperative behaviors, Out of all the predictor variables of feelings of happiness few appropriate social skills, and many negative social among adolescents (see Table 4), five were statistically significant: skills (inappropriate assertiveness, impulsiveness, jealousy- self-concept (β = 0.284), depression (β =−0.215), cooperative withdrawal). However, no differences in anxiety problems or behaviors (β = 0.287), self-esteem (β = 0.165), and psychoticism overconfidence were found among the three happiness profiles. (β =−2.16). The standardized Beta regression coefficients The Bonferroni tests confirmed that the adolescents included in indicate that these variables have a relevant impact on the variable Profile 1 (low level of happiness) had significant differences with “feelings of happiness.” According to this, the percentages those of Profiles 2 and 3 (medium and high level of happiness). of explained variance (adjusted determination coefficients) for each one of these predictor variables were of an important Feelings of Happiness: Predictive Variables magnitude in all the variables (42.9, 57.8, 65.6, 66.5, and 67.5%). Five variables explain 67.5% of the variance and are To identify the variables that predict a high score in feelings predictors of “happiness”: high self-concept, few symptoms of of happiness, we performed stepwise multiple linear regression depression, many cooperative behaviors, high self-esteem, and analysis, including all the variables, the results of which are low psychoticism. presented in Table 4. Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 7 August 2015 | Volume 6 | Article 1176 Garaigordobil Predictor variables of happiness TABLE 4 | Multiple regression analysis for predictor variables of happiness. 2 2 RR R B SE Constant β tp ACSA self-concept 0.658 0.433 0.429 11.57 2.66 55.19 0.284 4.33 0.000 SCL-90-R depression 0.765 0.585 0.578 −5.75 2.40 82.82 −0.215 −2.39 0.018 CS cooperative behavior 0.815 0.664 0.656 0.66 0.13 45.95 0.287 4.81 0.000 RSE self-esteem 0.822 0.676 0.665 0.56 0.24 35.21 0.165 2.30 0.023 SCL-90-R psychoticism 0.829 0.688 0.675 −6.49 2.99 36.73 −0.168 −2.16 0.032 disorders), and few negative social skills (inappropriate Self-Esteem as a Mediator between Happiness assertiveness, impulsiveness, jealousy-withdrawal). These results and Psychopathological Symptoms confirm Hypothesis 2 almost completely (no relations were To analyze whether self-esteem is mediator between happiness found with anxiety problems) and point in the same direction and psychopathological symptoms (GSI), we performed linear as other studies finding fewer psychopathological symptoms in regression analysis. The results showed a partial mediation happy adolescents (Agbaria et al., 2012; Bartels et al., 2013)as well of self-esteem in the inverse relation between happiness as greater academic success (Salmela-Aro and Tuominen-Soini, and psychopathological symptoms (total effect β =−1.47, 2010). p = 0.001; partial effect, β =−1.14, p = 0.000; Sobel test, Thirdly, the results suggest that adolescents with high feelings Z =−4.53, p = 0.000). This result shows a partial mediational of happiness also have high self-concept-self-esteem, perform effect of self-esteem in the inverse relation between happiness many cooperative behaviors, display high social adjustment and and psychopathological symptoms. That is, even though the many appropriate social skills related to sociability emotional happiness is low, if the adolescent’s self-esteem is high, such low expression. These results confirm Hypothesis 3 and are consistent happiness does not predict many psychopathological symptoms. with other studies underlining that happiness is positively related to friendship (Demir and Davidson, 2013), cooperation (Rigby et al., 1997), altruism, social skills (Demir et al., 2012), and self- Discussion esteem (Salmela-Aro and Tuominen-Soini, 2010; Sato and Yuki, The most important objectives of the study were to explore 2014). Lastly, the study identifies five variables predicting feelings feelings happiness as a function of sex and age, to analyze its relations with risk and protective factors for health, identifying of happiness, such as high self-concept, few symptoms of variables that predict feelings of happiness. Firstly, the results depression, many cooperative behaviors, high self-esteem, and confirmed that there were no sex differences in feelings of low psychoticism. These data confirm Hypothesis 4, which happiness, but such feelings decrease as age increases from 14 postulated that high scores in protective factors (many positive to 16 years. These results confirm our Hypothesis 1, pointing in social cooperative behaviors, high self-concept/self-esteem) and the same direction as other studies that have not found any sex low scores in risk factors (psychopathological symptoms and differences (Huebner et al., 2000; Csikszentmihalyi and Hunter, behavior problems) would be predictor variables. These results 2003; Park and Huebner, 2005; Hervás, 2009; Vera et al., 2012; confirm the theoretical models that have considered sociability as a factor of happiness, as well as the studies identifying the Uusitalo-Malmivaara and Lehto, 2013; Hunagund and Hangal, 2014). However, they contradict studies finding that women score predictive power of the capacity to cooperate (Lu and Argyle, 1991), social relations (Easterlin, 2006; Uusitalo-Malmivaara and higher than meninhappiness (Aldous and Ganey, 1999). The absence of sex differences can be interpreted from the hypothesis Lehto, 2013), self-concept and self-esteem (Garaigordobil et al., of progressive homogeneity between males and females that 2009). Complementarily, the results found a partial mediational is emerging in recent studies. In addition, the results confirm effect of self-esteem in the relation between happiness and studies finding differences as a function of age (Vera et al., 2012), psychopathological symptoms, that confirm the Hypothesis 5. but they disagree with those that have found no differences Taking into account the studies that have shown the important (Huebner et al., 2000; Hervás, 2009). The decrease in happiness role of positive feelings for physical and mental health, the results at these ages may be explained by the increase of tensions and of the present study represent a significant contribution to our anxiety that occur during adolescence. The discrepancies with knowledge. The work provides evidence of the connections of other studies may be related to the diverse ages of the samples happiness with lower levels of psychopathological symptoms, and to the different instruments employed. and behavior problems, with high levels of self-concept-self- esteem, cooperative behavior, appropriate social skills and few Secondly, the results show that the adolescents with high scores in happiness had fewer psychopathological symptoms negative social behaviors. Moreover, the work has allowed us (somatization, obsession–compulsion, interpersonal sensitivity, to identify that a high level of self-esteem-self-concept, many depression, anxiety, hostility, phobic anxiety, paranoid ideation, cooperative behaviors and few symptoms of depression and psychoticism, and additional, GSI, PSDI, PST), fewer behavior psychoticism (social alienation) predict happiness, which is useful problems (school-academic problems, antisocial behavior, for the design of intervention programs to promote positive shyness-withdrawal, psychopathological, and psychosomatic feelings of happiness. The strong point of the study is having Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 8 August 2015 | Volume 6 | Article 1176 Garaigordobil Predictor variables of happiness assessed psychopathological symptoms both with self-reports and pointed out that such programs can stimulate an increase in parent-reports. Other significant contribution of the study was happiness of approximately 40%, whereas personal circumstances to reveal the mediator role (protective factor) of self-esteem can add 10% to the baseline of satisfaction of each person. in the connection between happiness and psychopathological Intervention programs can help but they cannot change a symptoms. person completely, although they can modify the cognitive and Thus, the results of the study suggest that intervention motivational processes so that circumstances are reinterpreted, programs that promote positive feelings of happiness, as well processed, or experienced in a positive way, which may be as protective factors for health, such as self-concept-self- related to resilience to adversity. To a great extent, happiness esteem, cooperation, and social skills, can play a relevant is more a state of mind than something conditioned by role in the reduction of psychopathological symptoms and circumstances. behavior problems (antisocial behavior, academic problems, That said, after reviewing some studies analyzing happiness, psychosomatic symptoms). As limitations of the study, we several behavioral and cognitive strategies are noted that promote mention the small age range of the sample of this study (14– feelings of happiness and that can be taken into account when 16 years) and the fact that it is a cross-sectional study. designing intervention programs to foster such feelings, for The meeting held by the United Nations (2011) pointed out example: (1) remain active and physically occupied (a healthy that the increase in chronic diseases represents a worldwide mind in a healthy body); (2) share activities with other people crisis. The accumulative cost of these diseases in the next the and do things for others; (3) focus on the present, preventing 20 years (2011–2030) will reach 30.4 trillion dollars (Bloom past experiences or concerns about the future from distorting et al., 2011), 46.7 trillion dollars if incurable mental diseases are the “here and now,” because happiness is an internal emotional also counted. This sum would be much lower if intervention state that can only be felt in the present; (4) set small goals programs were implemented to promote positive emotions to be sequenced toward a larger goal; (5) think positive, have and feelings of happiness, which have shown that happiness positive thoughts; (6) set feasible goals; (7) be capable of enjoying and health are related. That is, the implementation of socio- pleasant things, paying close attention and slowly savoring the emotional intervention programs would prevent mental health things that cause pleasure; (8) learn to give oneself small daily problems, thereby saving thousands of dollars and increasing the rewards; (9) accept what cannot be changed, learning to forgive population’s happiness. and be reconciled with the past, no matter how negative it may In spiteof being themost important lifegoal, thepursuit have been; (10) practice self-compassion to forgive oneself and of happiness has been considered by many a frivolity and feel thankful to others, because one’s own happiness is related an utopia. Can one pursue happiness? Can one learn from to that of others; (11) be aware of the positive aspects of life happiness? (see Avia, 2008). 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Predictor variables of happiness and its connection with risk and protective factors for health

Frontiers in Psychology , Volume 6 – Aug 12, 2015

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ORIGINAL RESEARCH published: 12 August 2015 doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01176 Predictor variables of happiness and its connection with risk and protective factors for health Maite Garaigordobil* Faculty of Psychology, University of the Basque Country, Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain Great thinkers, philosophers, scientists, and artists from History have often been concerned about one of the most important elements of life: happiness. The study had four goals: (1) To analyze possible differences in feelings of happiness as a function of sex and age; (2) To explore the relations of happiness with risk factors (psychopathological symptoms, behavior problems) and protective factors (self-concept-self-esteem, cooperative behavior, social skills) for health; (3) To identify predictor variables of happiness; and (4) To explore whether self-esteem mediates the relationship between happiness and psychopathological symptoms. The sample comprised 286 adolescents (14–16 years old). The study used a descriptive, correlational, and Edited by: cross-sectional methodology. Seven assessment instruments were administered. The Jesus De La Fuente, University of Almería, Spain ANOVAs confirm that there are no sex differences, but happiness decreases as age Reviewed by: increases. Pearson coefficients show that adolescents with more feelings of happiness Ankita Sharma, had fewer psychopathological symptoms (somatization, obsession–compulsion, Indian Institute of Technology interpersonal sensitivity, depression, anxiety, hostility, phobic anxiety, paranoid ideation, Jodhpur, India José Manuel Muñoz, psychoticism...), fewer behavioral problems (school-academic, antisocial behavior, Universidad de Cádiz, Spain shyness-withdrawal, psychopathological, psychosomatic), high social adaptation, high *Correspondence: self-concept/self-esteem, many cooperative behaviors, many appropriate social skills, Maite Garaigordobil, Faculty of Psychology, University and few negative social skills (inappropriate assertiveness, impulsiveness, jealousy- of the Basque Country, Avenida withdrawal). Multiple regression analysis identified five variables predicting happiness: de Tolosa 70, 20018 high self-concept, few symptoms of depression, many cooperative behaviors, high Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain maite.garaigordobil@ehu.es self-esteem, and low psychoticism. Results showed a partial mediational effect of self- esteem in the relation between happiness and psychopathological symptoms. The Specialty section: discussion focuses on the importance of implementing programs to promote feelings This article was submitted to Educational Psychology, of happiness, as well as protective factors for health (self-esteem, cooperation...). a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology Keywords: psychology, happiness, psychopathology, social behavior, self-esteem, cooperation, sex, adolescence Received: 04 January 2015 Accepted: 27 July 2015 Published: 12 August 2015 Introduction Citation: Garaigordobil M (2015) Predictor Great thinkers, philosophers, scientists, and artists from History have often been concerned about variables of happiness and its one of the most important elements of life: happiness. Although all human beings know and use the connection with risk and protective concept of happiness, there is no agreement about the definition of this construct. In ancient times, factors for health. the concept of happiness focused on good luck, and the gods played an important role. Although Front. Psychol. 6:1176. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01176 in recent years, we are witnessing a great interest aroused by this topic, the old time philosophers Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 1 August 2015 | Volume 6 | Article 1176 Garaigordobil Predictor variables of happiness (Aristotle, Socrates, Epicurus, Seneca...) already argued about studies suggest a U-form model, finding that the highest levels it. Aristotle distinguished a moral life (necessary to maintain of happiness are achieved around 20–29 years of age, and after happiness) from a material life (necessary to meet the basic 50 years (Blanchflower and Oswald, 2006). needs), underlining the need for both (Anderson et al., 2011). The concept of happiness has been studied from different For Socrates, virtue is the necessary and sufficient condition approaches, and diverse investigations have analyzed the for happiness. However, in the Declaration of Independence of correlations of happiness with other constructs such as health, Jefferson in 1776, the pursuit of happiness was included as a personality traits, behaviors... According to Argyle (1997), human right. Therefore, happiness went from being related to happiness affects health and vice versa. When discussing health, luck and considered as being passive to being considered a we refer both to physical and mental health. Thus, Bartels et al. more active construct. Currently, happiness is understood as (2013) found a negative relation between subjective well-being something that humans beings can control and achieve (Kesebir and psychopathology in a sample of adolescents (12–20 years). In and Diener, 2008; Oishi, 2012). the same direction, Agbaria et al. (2012) showed that the happier In research on happiness, two perspectives are differentiated: adolescents are, the fewer symptoms they have. In research hedonism and eudaimonia (Deci and Ryan, 2000; Ryan and with adults, these results are ratified because hedonic behaviors Deci, 2001). Hedonic well-being is based on the subjective predicted less stress and depression (Henderson et al., 2013). assessment of quality of life, including both positive and negative Another line of research has correlated happiness and affects as well as the cognitive assessment of life satisfaction, personality. In a study carried out with adults, happiness and it is related to obtaining pleasure. However, a satisfactory correlated negatively with neuroticism and positively with life cannot be associated only with pleasure and therefore, extraversion (Hills and Argyle, 2001) and openness (Pelechano eudaimonic well-being focuses on peoples’ full functioning and et al., 2013). In thesamedirection, Garaigordobil et al. (2009), commitment; happiness can only be achieved as the result in a sample aged between 20–40 years, found that subjective optimal psychological functioning, the consequence of people psychological well-being was positively related toextraversion developing their true nature, their potential, to the full; from and negatively related to neuroticism and psychoticism. the standpoint of eudaimonia, profound well-being requires Research with adolescents and university students has autonomy, competence, and affiliation or creation of affective underlined that happiness is positively related to friendship links. (Demir and Davidson, 2013), altruism, social skills (Demir et al., Happiness has been defined as the appraisal, both affective 2012), cooperation (Rigby et al., 1997), academic success, and and cognitive, of one’s own life, consisting of general satisfaction self-esteem (Salmela-Aro and Tuominen-Soini, 2010; Sato and with life, the presence of positive affects and the absence of Yuki, 2014). Recent studies (Cheung et al., 2014) also suggest negative ones (Diener et al., 1999). Lyubomirsky et al. (2005) that people with higher self-control are happier possibly because define happiness as a subjectively assessed phenomenon that is they are: (1) more promotion-focused on acquiring positive determined both by positive and negative affects, and by life gains thereby facilitating more approach-oriented behaviors, and satisfaction. The RICH theory (Kehle, 1999; Kehle et al., 2002) (2) less prevention-focused on avoiding losses thereby reducing defines happiness as a synonym of psychological health and, avoidance-oriented behaviors. accordingly, happy people have four characteristics: resources Within the debate on the bidirectional relationship between (feeling of independence or control over one’s life), intimacy happiness and health, in 2011, the Coca-Cola Institute of (friendship, empathy, and capacity to enjoy the company of other Happiness and the Faculty of Psychology at the Complutense people), competence (capacities and awareness of these skills), University of Madrid (2011), in collaboration with the research and health (being aware of and practicing healthy behaviors). team directed by Professor Vazquez of the Complutense However, subjective well-being comprehends a broad range of University of Madrid, prepared a report entitled “Happiness and components such as happiness, life satisfaction, hedonic balance, the Perception of Health.” In this research, interviews with 3,000 and realization, consisting of the affective and cognitive appraisal people aged 18–65 were carried out. The results showed that, in of one’s own life (Kim-Prieto et al., 2005). the face of a health problem, happier people feel healthier than Regarding sex differences in feelings of happiness, most of unhappier people. Health can influence happiness but not all the studies carried out with adolescents and adults have found health problems imply a decrease in the level of life satisfaction. no differences as a function of sex (Huebner et al., 2000; In general, the presence of certain psychological problems Csikszentmihalyi and Hunter, 2003; Park and Huebner, 2005; (depression, stress, insomnia, addictions, anorexia, etc.), physical Hervás, 2009; Vera et al., 2012; Uusitalo-Malmivaara and Lehto, illnesses, and psychophysiological disorders (cardiovascular 2013; Hunagund and Hangal, 2014), but some studies have found diseases, stomachache, migraines/headaches, obesity, cancer, significant differences between men and women, with women disabilities, etc.) have a negative impact on life satisfaction, obtaining higher scores in happiness (Aldous and Ganey, 1999). whereas other disorders such as hypertension, diabetes, or sexual With regard to age, few studies have investigated its relation dysfunction, among others, are not related to life satisfaction. with happiness, and, moreover, the results are discrepant. Some The study also emphasized the relationship between well-being studies have found no differences as a function of age (Huebner and health, showing that unhappier people have more health et al., 2000; Hervás, 2009), whereas others reveal differences problems, with the exception of allergies and skin problems. This (Lacey et al., 2012). The work of Vera et al. (2012) reported relationship was strongest with psychological disorders versus that higher age predicts low levels of happiness, whereas other diseases of a more physical nature. In addition, the investigation Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 2 August 2015 | Volume 6 | Article 1176 Garaigordobil Predictor variables of happiness confirmed the importance of family and friends as a factor that be found between feelings of happiness and psychopathological enhances well-being. symptoms (somatization, obsession–compulsion, interpersonal Subsequent analyses with data from the sample of this study sensitivity, depression, anxiety, hostility, phobic anxiety, (Vázquez et al., 2015) have shown that, although physical and paranoid ideation, psychoticism, and additional) and behavior psychological problems both had an impact on life satisfaction, problems (school-academic problems, antisocial behavior, greater effect sizes were generally found for psychological rather shyness-withdrawal, psychopathological disorders, anxiety than for physical illness. Regression analysis, controlling for problems, psychosomatic disorders), and negative social skills the effects of comorbidity and sociodemographic variables (e.g., (inappropriate assertiveness, overconfidence, impulsiveness, age, gender, marital status, employment status, and educational jealousy/withdrawal). (H3) Positive correlations will be found level), revealed a significant impact on life satisfaction of cancer between feelings of happiness and protective factors for health, and migraine (in the domain of physical problems), and of such as self-concept-self-esteem, the capacity of cooperation, depression, lack of concentration, insomnia, and stress/anxiety and diverse appropriate social skills related to sociability and (in the domain of psychological problems). Further multivariate emotional expression. (H4) High scores in protective factors analyses were conducted to estimate decreases in the Satisfaction (many positive social cooperative behaviors, high self-concept- with Life Scale for each of the conditions assessed. A lack self-esteem) and low scores in risk factors (psychopathological of significant interactions revealed that the effect of comorbid symptoms, behavior problems) will be predictors of feelings of physical and/or psychological problems could be additive. happiness. (H5) Self-esteem will be a mediator variable of the The present results show that people who have psychological relation between happiness and psychopathological symptoms. problems display a marked decrease in life satisfaction. On a whole, this negative impact is significantly greater than the decrease associated with physical problems. To see in detail Materials and Methods the connections between psychological well-being and health, Participants consult the review of the meta-analytical studies performed by Vázquez (2013). The sample comprised 286 Spanish adolescents aged between 14 and 16 years, 148 male (51.7%) and 138 female (48.3%). Regarding variables that predict happiness, in general, few investigations have carried out predictive analyses. Nevertheless, Of them, 46.5% were 14 years old, 35.2% were 15, and 18.2% were 16 (M = 14.72 years, SD = 0.75). The participants belong some studies have identified the predictive power of cooperation (Lu and Argyle, 1991) and sociability (Csikszentmihalyi and to six schools of diverse socioeconomic levels (50% public and 50% private). Of the entire sample, 62.9% are in third grade of Hunter, 2003; Easterlin, 2006; Uusitalo-Malmivaara and Lehto, 2013). High levels of self-esteem-self-concept have secondary education and 37.1% are in fourth grade. Of them, also been shown to be predictors of psychological well-being 11.9% (n = 34) had previously consulted a psychologist for (Garaigordobil et al., 2009). Lastly, health has been considered school problems associated with situations of separation from the as a factor predicting happiness (Easterlin, 2006; Angner parents, nervousness-anxiety..., and currently 5.2% (n = 15) still et al., 2013) and the relation between these two variables is have difficulties and are treated by a psychologist. The sample bidirectional. was randomly selected from the list of centers of the province of Gipuzkoa. In recent years, research on self-esteem has been gaining relevance within the context of the identification of protective Procedure factors against psychological problems. Its importance for personal well-being, mental health, professional success, social The study uses a descriptive and correlational cross-sectional relationships, academic performance, and so on has been the methodology, and attempts to establish concomitant relations focus of numerous research projects in the human and social among feelings of happiness and a broad range of variables sciences. (psychopathological symptoms, behavior problems, self-concept- Taking as reference the above-mentioned studies, this work self-esteem, capacity of cooperation, and social skills), as well had four goals: (1) To analyze possible differences in feelings of as to identify predictor variables. For this purpose, firstly, a happiness as a function of sex and age; (2) To explore the relations letter was sent to the headmasters of the randomly selected of happiness with risk factors (psychopathological symptoms, schools, explaining the project and requesting their collaboration. behavior problems) and protective factors (self-concept-self- Those who agreed to collaborate were interviewed in order esteem, cooperative behavior, social skills) for health; (3) To to present the project and give them the informed consent identify predictor variables of happiness; and (4) To explore forms for the participants’ parents. If the center director decided whether self-esteem mediates the relationship between happiness not to collaborate, the procedure was repeated with the next and psychopathological symptoms. Taking into account the center on the list, taking into account the network (private– relevant role of positive feelings in physical and mental health, public) and/or the socio-economic-cultural level of the center and based on the review of previous studies, in this investigation, that would not participate. After receiving the parents’ consent, five hypotheses were proposed: (H1) No sex differences will a team of psychology graduates went to the schools to administer be found, but, taking into account the typical tensions of the assessment instruments. The adolescents completed the six adolescence, it is expected that feelings of happiness will decrease assessment instruments in two 30-min sessions. In addition, they between ages 14 and 16 years. (H2) Negative correlations will received an envelope containing a scale of behavior problems Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 3 August 2015 | Volume 6 | Article 1176 Garaigordobil Predictor variables of happiness (BPS) to be completed by their parents. This study met the including general signs of emotional stress and its psychosomatic ethical values required in research with human beings, respecting manifestations), hostility (thoughts, feelings and behaviors the fundamental principles (informed consent and right to of aggressiveness, anger, irritability, rage, and resentment), information, protection of personal data and guarantees of phobic anxiety (focusing more on the scale of social phobia and confidentiality, non-discrimination, and freedom to leave the agoraphobia symptoms than on that of simple phobia), paranoid study at any stage). This study was carried out in accordance ideation (paranoid behavior, considered mainly as the response with the recommendations of the Vice-Rectorate of Research to a delusional disorder including suspiciousness, self-referential of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). This centralism and delirious ideation, hostility, grandiosity, fear of Vice-Rectorate approved the study and partially financed it loss of autonomy, and need for control), psychoticism (in the (1/UPV0006.231-H-15910.2004). general population, it is more frequently associated with feelings of social alienation than with clinically manifest psychosis), Instruments and additional scale (miscellaneous symptoms that make up a clear referent of melancholic depression). Furthermore, the test Seven assessment instruments with psychometric guarantees were used to measure the following variables: happiness, makes it possible to calculate the General Symptomatic Index (GSI), which is a standard and indiscriminate measure of the psychopathological symptoms, behavioral problems, self- concept, self-esteem, capacity of cooperation, and social intensity of global psychosomatic and psychic suffering, the Positive Symptom Total (PST), which is the number of existing skills. symptoms, and the Positive Symptom Distress Index (PSDI), The Oxford Happiness Questionnaire (OHQ; Hills and which links suffering or global distress with the number of Argyle, 2002) symptoms. Adolescents report the frequency with which they The OHQ was derived from the Oxford Happiness Inventory have experienced these symptoms during the last month. Studies (OHI), which, reduced 29 items, attempts to measure the have shown the reliability of the test (α = between 0.81 and happiness of a general nature of each individual, that is, 0.90) and construct validity. The internal consistency obtained psychological well-being. For example, “I am not particularly with the sample of this study was suitable for the whole set of optimistic about the future,” “I am well satisfied about everything symptoms (GSI, α = 0.89). in my life,” “I am very happy,” “Life is good,” and “I always Behavioral Problems Scale (BPS; Navarro et al., 1993) have a cheerful effect on others”... The person expresses the degree of agreement with the statements on a 6-point Likert This 99-item scale is filled in by the parents to assess behavioral problems. The items are grouped in seven scales: school-academic scale (1 = strongly disagree; 6 = strongly agree). The studies problems (related to low academic performance), antisocial carried out with a sample of people aged between 13 and 68 years verified the good reliability of this scale (α = 0.91). The construct behavior (behaviors that may be classified as aggressive, and other behaviors that are not aggressive but might impair social validity of the OHI was assessed through its associations with different measures of individual differences of cognitive traits and relationships), shyness-withdrawal (tendency to solitude and susceptibility in social relationships), psychopathological disorders variables. In the original study, the associations of the OHI and the OHQ were compared, obtaining significant correlations. In (serious problems which generally have a depressive component), anxiety problems (behaviors that express fear and/or anxiety this sample, Cronbach’s α reached 0.86, indicating good internal consistency. generalized form), psychosomatic disorders (physical disorders without medical cause), and a positive scale of social adjustment Symptoms Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R; (adjustment to social rules). Parents must report whether or not Derogatis, 1983; Spanish adaptation of González de their children engage in these behaviors. As regards the reliability Rivera et al., 2002) of the scale, information about the internal consistency of the This self-report has 90 items distributed into 10 scales, which whole BPS has been gathered (α = 0.88). To test the criterion validity, the BPS was applied to different samples of children and report the psychopathological disorders: somatization (bodily dysfunctions, neurovegetative disorders in cardiovascular, adolescents (referred by the school psychologist due to problems at school, referred to a clinical psychologist, and prison inmates respiratory, gastrointestinal, and muscular systems), obsession– compulsion (behaviors, thoughts, and impulses that the subject due to criminal problems), and the multiple regression analysis showed that belonging to different criterion groups was the considers absurd and undesirable, which create deep anguish and which are hard to resist, avoid, or get rid of), interpersonal variable that presented the highest level of relations with the BPS scores. Reliability analysis with the sample of this study showed sensitivity (feelings of shyness and embarrassment, tendency to feel inferior to others, hypersensitivity to other people’s opinions good internal consistency (α = between 0.70 and 0.83). and attitudes and, in general, awkwardness and inhibition in Adjective Checklist for Self-Concept Assessment interpersonal relations), depression (clinical signs and symptoms of depressive disorders, including dysphoric experiences, with Adolescents and Adults (ACSA; Garaigordobil, 2011) anhedonia, hopelessness, impotence, and lack of energy, as well as self-destructive ideas and other cognitive and somatic This checklist is made up of 57 positive adjectives (attractive, manifestations typical of depressive states), anxiety (clinical friendly, cooperative, intelligent, creative...) which respondents manifestations of anxiety, both generalized and acute or “panic,” are asked to score on a scale of 0–4 (not at all – very much) Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 4 August 2015 | Volume 6 | Article 1176 Garaigordobil Predictor variables of happiness according to the degree to which the items define or describe sharing); Inappropriate Assertiveness (aggressive behaviors, their personality. Studies of validity and reliability confirm its making fun of or abusing others); Impulsiveness (behaviors such psychometric properties. A study carried out with a sample as getting angry easily or interrupting others); Overconfidence of 1,578 participants obtained a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.92. In (overvaluing oneself); and Jealousy-Withdrawal (feelings of order to analyze the validity of the ACSA, correlations were loneliness, lack of friends). Item examples of each scale are: “I calculated with other instrument measuring self-esteem (RSE; know how to make friends” (social skills), “I get back at people Rosenberg, 1965), obtaining significant positive correlations who offend me” (inappropriate assertiveness), “I interrupt others (r = 0.63, p < 0.001). Furthermore, other analysis carried when they are talking” (impulsiveness), “I like to brag about the out indicated significant negative relationships of self-concept things I have” (overconfidence), and “I feel jealous of others” (ACSA) with psychopathological symptoms (Derogatis, 1983). (jealousy/withdrawal). This instrument is made up of 62 items, Reliability analysis with the sample of this study presented high with response options rated on a 4-point Likert scale ranging internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.95). from 1 (never)to4(always). A study carried out with the Spanish version of the MESSY in a sample of 634 adolescents Self-Esteem Scale (RSE; Rosenberg, 1965) of ages 12–17 showed high internal consistency (Cronbach’s This scale assesses general self-esteem with 10 statements α = 0.88). In this study, Pearson correlation coefficients were focusing on global feelings of self-appraisal (“On the whole, I calculated between the total MESSY score and other measures am satisfied with myself”); five of them are drafted positively the of assertiveness and social skills. Inappropriate social behaviors other five negatively. The subject must read the statements and had negative correlations with prosocial behavior and positive report the extent to which they apply to him/her, using a Likert- correlations with aggressiveness and antisocial behavior. The type scale with four response categories (ranging from strongly internal consistency obtained with the sample of the present agree to strongly disagree). The reliability of the test has been study was adequate in appropriate skills (α = 0.86) and negative broadly documented in the literature. McCarthy and Hoge (1982) behaviors (α = 0.84). have reported consistency coefficients (Cronbach’s α)ranging from 0.74 to 0.77, and test–retest reliability of 0.63 (interval of 7 months) and of 0.85 (interval of 2 weeks). The validity of the Results scale as a one-dimensional measure of self-esteem has also been Feelings of Happiness: Differences as a proven in several studies (Silber and Tippett, 1965). The internal consistency obtained with the sample of the present study was Function of Sex and Age adequate (α = 0.82). In order to analyze possible differences in feelings of happiness as a function of sex and age, after confirming the basic assumptions Cooperativeness Scale (CS; Rigby et al., 1997) (homogeneity, homoscedasticity...), we performed analysis of This 18-item scale measures the individual’s capacity to cooperate variance, the results of which are presented in Table 1. with others, defining cooperation as behaving conjointly and The results (see Table 1) show that there were no differences coordinately at work, leisure, or in social relationships, for between boys and girls in feelings of happiness, F(1,284) = 0.09, the pleasure of sharing activities, goals, or simply to enhance p = 0.343, η = 0.003; r = 0.05. However, there were significant relationships. Participants rate their responses on a 5-point differences as a function of age, F(2,283) = 7.20, p = 0.001; Likert scale, ranging from 1 (totally disagree)to5 (totally agree). η = 0.049; r = 0.22, observing a decrease in happiness as age Of the 18 items of the test, nine reflect cooperative attitudes increased from 14 to 16 years. In addition, the Bonferroni group and nine uncooperative attitudes. Item examples are: “Team comparison tests showed that the group of 14-year-olds scored work is the best way to get results” “It is more productive significantly higher than the groups of 15- and 16-year-olds (Post to work alone.” In the authors’ study, conducted in Australia with a sample of adolescents, adequate reliability was obtained (Cronbach’s α = 0.77). In this same study, concurrent validity was TABLE 1 | Means and SD in feelings of happiness by sex and age. examined in a sample of students, controlling age and obtaining Sex Age nM SD correlations with other measures. The results showed that the correlation of cooperation with the number of friends was low Male 14 61 129.82 15.45 (r < 0.20), and the quality of friendships was a better indicator 15 52 118.08 19.67 of cooperation than the number of friends, thus confirming a 16 35 117.49 17.68 significant link between cooperation and happiness. Reliability Total 148 122.78 18.41 analysis with the sample of this study showed good internal Female 14 72 122.99 20.10 consistency (α = 0.87). 15 49 120.39 17.30 16 17 115.12 18.86 The Matson Evaluation of Social Skills in Youngsters Total 138 121.09 19.04 (MESSY; Matson et al., 1983; Spanish adaptation of Total 14 133 126.12 18.37 Méndez et al., 2002) 15 101 119.20 18.50 The scale evaluates five factors: Appropriate Social Skills 16 52 116.71 17.92 (behaviors such as emotional expressiveness, having friends, Total 286 121.97 18.70 Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 5 August 2015 | Volume 6 | Article 1176 Garaigordobil Predictor variables of happiness hoc:14 > 15,16). The Sex Age interaction was not significant, The results (see Table 2) confirmed, firstly, significant F(1,284) = 1.79, p = 0.168, η = 0.013; r = 0.11. correlations between feelings of happiness and all the psychopathological symptoms assessed, which were of a greater magnitude (moderate-large) with symptoms of interpersonal Feelings of Happiness: Relations with sensitivity, depression, psychoticism, and the three global Psychopathological Symptoms, Behavior psychopathology indexes. Therefore, the data suggest that Problems, Self-Concept-Self-Esteem, adolescents with considerable feelings of happiness had fewer Cooperative Behavior, and Social Skills psychopathological symptoms of somatization, obsession– To explore the relations between feelings of happiness, risk compulsion, interpersonal sensitivity, depression, anxiety, factors (psychopathological symptoms, behavior problems), and hostility, phobic anxiety, paranoid ideation, psychoticism, protective factors (cooperation, social skills, self-concept-self- additional, and lower levels in the indexes GSI, PST, and esteem) for health, we performed Pearson correlation analyses PSDI. with the entire sample, the results of which are presented in Secondly, negative correlations (of a medium-low magnitude) Table 2. were also found between happiness and parent-assessed behavior problems (school-academic problems, antisocial behavior, shyness-withdrawal, psychopathological disorders, psychosomatic disorders), and positive correlations with social TABLE 2 | Pearson correlation coefficients between happiness and adjustment. No significant relation was found with anxiety psychopathology, behavioral problems, self-concept, self-esteem, and social behaviors. problems. The data show that adolescents with high scores in happiness had few school-academic problems, infrequent Happiness antisocial behavior, few problems of shyness-withdrawal, few SCL-90-R. Psychopathological Symptoms psychopathological and psychosomatic disorders, as well as high ∗∗∗ Somatization −0.33 social adjustment (see Table 2). ∗∗∗ Obsession–compulsion −0.46 Thirdly, positive correlations between feelings of ∗∗∗ Interpersonal sensitivity −0.55 happiness and self-concept/self-esteem, capacity for ∗∗∗ Depression −0.58 cooperation and appropriate social skills were found, as ∗∗∗ Anxiety −0.40 well as negative correlations with negative social skills ∗∗∗ Hostility −0.43 (inappropriate assertiveness, impulsiveness, overconfidence, ∗∗∗ Phobic anxiety −0.37 jealousy-withdrawal). The relations with self-concept/self-esteem ∗∗∗ Paranoid ideation −0.42 were of a large magnitude, and the relations with cooperative ∗∗∗ Psychoticism −0.52 behavior and jealousy-withdrawal were moderate. Hence, the ∗∗∗ Additional −0.47 data show that adolescents with high scores in happiness had high ∗∗∗ General Symptomatic Index (GSI) −0.58 self-concept, high self-esteem, they performed many cooperative ∗∗∗ Positive Symptom Total (PST) −0.55 behaviors with others, and had appropriate social skills related to ∗∗∗ Positive Symptom Distress Index (PSDI) −0.54 sociability and emotional expression (see Table 2). BPS. Behavioral Problems In order to contrast the results obtained with the correlations ∗∗∗ School-academic problems −0.32 observed, we explored whether the adolescents who had high ∗∗ Antisocial behavior −0.21 scores in feelings of happiness displayed significant differences ∗∗∗ Shyness-withdrawal −0.29 in the target variables of the study when comparing them ∗∗∗ Psychopathological disorders −0.24 with adolescents who obtained low or medium scores. For this Anxiety problems −0.06 ns purpose, firstly, we divided the sample into three profiles as a ∗∗∗ Psychosomatic disorders −0.30 function of their scores on the OHQ, emphasizing the extremes: ∗∗∗ Social adaptation 0.36 Profile 1 (low level of happiness, percentile scores 1–15; 16.8%), ∗∗∗ Behavioral problems total −0.35 Profile 2 (medium level of happiness, percentile scores 16–84; ACSA – RSE. Self-concept/self-esteem 67.8%) and Profile 3 (high level of happiness percentiles ≤85; ∗∗∗ Self-concept −0.61 15.4%). Subsequently, we performed descriptive analyses (means ∗∗∗ Self-esteem −0.54 and SDs) and analysis of variance as a function of the happiness CS. Cooperativeness profile, calculating the effect size (Eta), and post hoc group ∗∗∗ Cooperative behavior 0.47 comparisons (Bonferroni), the results of which are presented in MESSY. Social skills Table 3. ∗∗∗ Appropriate social skills 0.33 As shown in Table 3, the adolescents who had low scores ∗∗∗ Inappropriate assertiveness −0.27 in feelings of happiness (Profile 1), had significantly more ∗∗∗ Impulsiveness −0.32 psychopathological symptoms (in all the scales assessed Overconfidence −0.12 and in the three global indexes), and many behavior ∗∗∗ Jealousy-withdrawal −0.52 problems (school-academic, antisocial behavior, shyness- ∗∗∗ Negative social skills total −0.38 withdrawal, psychopathological and psychosomatic problems). ∗ ∗∗ ∗∗∗ p < 0.05, p < 0.01, p < 0.001, ns = non-significant. Moreover, the adolescents with few feelings of happiness had Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 6 August 2015 | Volume 6 | Article 1176 Garaigordobil Predictor variables of happiness TABLE 3 | Means and SD of all the variables in the three happiness profiles (low, medium, high), and results of the analysis of variance as a function of profile, effect size (Eta), and post hoc tests (Bonferroni). Profile 1 (n = 48) Profile 2 (n = 194) Profile 3 (n = 44) F(2,284) profile Eta Post hoc M (SD) M (SD) M (SD) SCL-90-R. Psychopathological Symptoms ∗∗∗ Somatization 1.22 (0.72) 0.74 (0.54) 0.57 (0.38) 7.87 0.113 1 > 2,3 ∗∗∗ Obsession–compulsion 1.51 (0.75) 0.86 (0.64) 0.53 (0.31) 13.67 0.181 1 > 2,3 ∗∗∗ Interpersonal sensitivity 1.67 (0.84) 0.82 (0.58) 0.48 (0.28) 22.49 0.266 1 > 2,3 ∗∗∗ Depression 1.75 (1.01) 0.63 (0.51) 0.30 (0.20) 37.34 0.376 1 > 2 > 3 ∗∗∗ Anxiety 1.01 (0.84) 0.47 (0.42) 0.35 (0.34) 11.32 0.154 1 > 2,3 ∗∗∗ Hostility 1.40 (1.12) 0.51 (0.49) 0.29 (0.26) 21.35 0.256 1 > 2,3 ∗∗∗ Phobic anxiety 0.57 (0.67) 0.18 (0.29) 0.09 (0.14) 11.26 0.154 1 > 2,3 ∗∗∗ Paranoid ideation 1.27 (0.71) 0.64 (0.59) 0.40 (0.30) 13.03 0.174 1 > 2,3 ∗∗∗ Psychoticism 0.91 (0.81) 0.27 (0.36) 0.06 (0.10) 22.13 0.263 1 > 2,3 ∗∗∗ Additional 1.46 (0.93) 0.71 (0.57) 0.36 (0.34) 17.88 0.224 1 > 2 > 3 ∗∗∗ GSI 1.31 (0.68) 0.60 (0.38) 0.35 (0.17) 30.59 0.330 1 > 2 > 3 ∗∗∗ PST 54.79 (18.94) 35.53 (17.08) 25.74 (11.16) 16.73 0.213 1 > 2 > 3 ∗∗∗ PSDI 2.03 (0.54) 1.44 (0.38) 1.23 (0.16) 25.57 0.292 1 > 2,3 BPS. Behavioral Problems ∗∗∗ School-academic problems 11.79 (5.21) 5.88 (5.71) 3.91 (5.64) 11.32 0.154 1 > 2,3 ∗∗∗ Antisocial behavior 10.58 (7.27) 5.29 (7.27) 4.78 (3.50) 11.66 0.158 1 > 2,3 Shyness-withdrawal 9.37 (4.93) 6.80 (3.77) 6.00 (3.39) 4.36 0.066 1 > 2,3 ∗∗ Psychopathological disorders 5.63 (4.42) 3.01 (2.47) 2.87 (2.94) 6.68 0.097 1 > 2,3 Anxiety problems 5.42 (2.16) 4.72 (2.72) 4.22 (2.43) 1.12 ns 0.018 – ∗∗ Psychosomatic disorders 3.42 (2.56) 1.67 (2.32) 1.22 (1.16) 6.04 0.089 1 > 2,3 ∗∗∗ Social adaptation 20.84 (4.29) 25.34 (4.15) 26.65 (3.79) 11.83 0.160 1 > 2,3 ∗∗∗ Behavioral problems total 46.21 (17.44) 27.38 (15.10) 23.00 (13.48) 14.42 0.189 1 > 2,3 ACSA – RSE. Self-concept/self-esteem ∗∗∗ Self-concept 2.05 (0.41) 2.56 (0.44) 2.90 (0.26) 22.64 0.268 1 < 2 < 3 ∗∗∗ Self-esteem 24.53 (5.62) 30.11 (5.20) 34.04 (2.94) 19.36 0.238 1 < 2 < 3 CS. Cooperativeness ∗∗∗ Cooperative behavior 64.58 (8.12) 69.69 (7.58) 79.26 (4.27) 23.95 0.279 1 < 2 < 3 MESSY. Social skills Appropriate social skills 66.84 (7.81) 70.81 (8.08) 74.26 (7.65) 4.51 0.068 1 < 3 Inappropriate assertiveness 29.42 (7.77) 25.48 (6.21) 23.22 (4.69) 5.26 0.078 1 > 2,3 ∗∗ Impulsiveness 10.84 (1.89) 9.48 (2.21) 8.52 (1.56) 6.58 0.096 1 > 2,3 Overconfidence 8.11 (2.92) 8.24 (2.31) 7.87 (1.54) 0.23 ns 0.004 – ∗∗∗ Jealousy-withdrawal 14.21 (4.03) 10.68 (2.82) 9.17 (1.07) 17.59 0.221 1 > 2,3 ∗∗∗ Negative social skills total 62.58 (1.07) 53.88 (10.83) 48.78 (7.27) 8.82 0.125 1 > 2,3 ∗ ∗∗ ∗∗ ∗ p < 0.05, p < 0.01, p < 0.001, ns, non-significant. Profile 1 low happiness (percentile 1–15). Profile 2 medium happiness (percentile 16–84). Profile 3 high happiness (≤85); Eta, Effect size; post hoc = Bonferroni group comparison test. low self-concept/self-esteem, few cooperative behaviors, Out of all the predictor variables of feelings of happiness few appropriate social skills, and many negative social among adolescents (see Table 4), five were statistically significant: skills (inappropriate assertiveness, impulsiveness, jealousy- self-concept (β = 0.284), depression (β =−0.215), cooperative withdrawal). However, no differences in anxiety problems or behaviors (β = 0.287), self-esteem (β = 0.165), and psychoticism overconfidence were found among the three happiness profiles. (β =−2.16). The standardized Beta regression coefficients The Bonferroni tests confirmed that the adolescents included in indicate that these variables have a relevant impact on the variable Profile 1 (low level of happiness) had significant differences with “feelings of happiness.” According to this, the percentages those of Profiles 2 and 3 (medium and high level of happiness). of explained variance (adjusted determination coefficients) for each one of these predictor variables were of an important Feelings of Happiness: Predictive Variables magnitude in all the variables (42.9, 57.8, 65.6, 66.5, and 67.5%). Five variables explain 67.5% of the variance and are To identify the variables that predict a high score in feelings predictors of “happiness”: high self-concept, few symptoms of of happiness, we performed stepwise multiple linear regression depression, many cooperative behaviors, high self-esteem, and analysis, including all the variables, the results of which are low psychoticism. presented in Table 4. Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 7 August 2015 | Volume 6 | Article 1176 Garaigordobil Predictor variables of happiness TABLE 4 | Multiple regression analysis for predictor variables of happiness. 2 2 RR R B SE Constant β tp ACSA self-concept 0.658 0.433 0.429 11.57 2.66 55.19 0.284 4.33 0.000 SCL-90-R depression 0.765 0.585 0.578 −5.75 2.40 82.82 −0.215 −2.39 0.018 CS cooperative behavior 0.815 0.664 0.656 0.66 0.13 45.95 0.287 4.81 0.000 RSE self-esteem 0.822 0.676 0.665 0.56 0.24 35.21 0.165 2.30 0.023 SCL-90-R psychoticism 0.829 0.688 0.675 −6.49 2.99 36.73 −0.168 −2.16 0.032 disorders), and few negative social skills (inappropriate Self-Esteem as a Mediator between Happiness assertiveness, impulsiveness, jealousy-withdrawal). These results and Psychopathological Symptoms confirm Hypothesis 2 almost completely (no relations were To analyze whether self-esteem is mediator between happiness found with anxiety problems) and point in the same direction and psychopathological symptoms (GSI), we performed linear as other studies finding fewer psychopathological symptoms in regression analysis. The results showed a partial mediation happy adolescents (Agbaria et al., 2012; Bartels et al., 2013)as well of self-esteem in the inverse relation between happiness as greater academic success (Salmela-Aro and Tuominen-Soini, and psychopathological symptoms (total effect β =−1.47, 2010). p = 0.001; partial effect, β =−1.14, p = 0.000; Sobel test, Thirdly, the results suggest that adolescents with high feelings Z =−4.53, p = 0.000). This result shows a partial mediational of happiness also have high self-concept-self-esteem, perform effect of self-esteem in the inverse relation between happiness many cooperative behaviors, display high social adjustment and and psychopathological symptoms. That is, even though the many appropriate social skills related to sociability emotional happiness is low, if the adolescent’s self-esteem is high, such low expression. These results confirm Hypothesis 3 and are consistent happiness does not predict many psychopathological symptoms. with other studies underlining that happiness is positively related to friendship (Demir and Davidson, 2013), cooperation (Rigby et al., 1997), altruism, social skills (Demir et al., 2012), and self- Discussion esteem (Salmela-Aro and Tuominen-Soini, 2010; Sato and Yuki, The most important objectives of the study were to explore 2014). Lastly, the study identifies five variables predicting feelings feelings happiness as a function of sex and age, to analyze its relations with risk and protective factors for health, identifying of happiness, such as high self-concept, few symptoms of variables that predict feelings of happiness. Firstly, the results depression, many cooperative behaviors, high self-esteem, and confirmed that there were no sex differences in feelings of low psychoticism. These data confirm Hypothesis 4, which happiness, but such feelings decrease as age increases from 14 postulated that high scores in protective factors (many positive to 16 years. These results confirm our Hypothesis 1, pointing in social cooperative behaviors, high self-concept/self-esteem) and the same direction as other studies that have not found any sex low scores in risk factors (psychopathological symptoms and differences (Huebner et al., 2000; Csikszentmihalyi and Hunter, behavior problems) would be predictor variables. These results 2003; Park and Huebner, 2005; Hervás, 2009; Vera et al., 2012; confirm the theoretical models that have considered sociability as a factor of happiness, as well as the studies identifying the Uusitalo-Malmivaara and Lehto, 2013; Hunagund and Hangal, 2014). However, they contradict studies finding that women score predictive power of the capacity to cooperate (Lu and Argyle, 1991), social relations (Easterlin, 2006; Uusitalo-Malmivaara and higher than meninhappiness (Aldous and Ganey, 1999). The absence of sex differences can be interpreted from the hypothesis Lehto, 2013), self-concept and self-esteem (Garaigordobil et al., of progressive homogeneity between males and females that 2009). Complementarily, the results found a partial mediational is emerging in recent studies. In addition, the results confirm effect of self-esteem in the relation between happiness and studies finding differences as a function of age (Vera et al., 2012), psychopathological symptoms, that confirm the Hypothesis 5. but they disagree with those that have found no differences Taking into account the studies that have shown the important (Huebner et al., 2000; Hervás, 2009). The decrease in happiness role of positive feelings for physical and mental health, the results at these ages may be explained by the increase of tensions and of the present study represent a significant contribution to our anxiety that occur during adolescence. The discrepancies with knowledge. The work provides evidence of the connections of other studies may be related to the diverse ages of the samples happiness with lower levels of psychopathological symptoms, and to the different instruments employed. and behavior problems, with high levels of self-concept-self- esteem, cooperative behavior, appropriate social skills and few Secondly, the results show that the adolescents with high scores in happiness had fewer psychopathological symptoms negative social behaviors. Moreover, the work has allowed us (somatization, obsession–compulsion, interpersonal sensitivity, to identify that a high level of self-esteem-self-concept, many depression, anxiety, hostility, phobic anxiety, paranoid ideation, cooperative behaviors and few symptoms of depression and psychoticism, and additional, GSI, PSDI, PST), fewer behavior psychoticism (social alienation) predict happiness, which is useful problems (school-academic problems, antisocial behavior, for the design of intervention programs to promote positive shyness-withdrawal, psychopathological, and psychosomatic feelings of happiness. The strong point of the study is having Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 8 August 2015 | Volume 6 | Article 1176 Garaigordobil Predictor variables of happiness assessed psychopathological symptoms both with self-reports and pointed out that such programs can stimulate an increase in parent-reports. Other significant contribution of the study was happiness of approximately 40%, whereas personal circumstances to reveal the mediator role (protective factor) of self-esteem can add 10% to the baseline of satisfaction of each person. in the connection between happiness and psychopathological Intervention programs can help but they cannot change a symptoms. person completely, although they can modify the cognitive and Thus, the results of the study suggest that intervention motivational processes so that circumstances are reinterpreted, programs that promote positive feelings of happiness, as well processed, or experienced in a positive way, which may be as protective factors for health, such as self-concept-self- related to resilience to adversity. To a great extent, happiness esteem, cooperation, and social skills, can play a relevant is more a state of mind than something conditioned by role in the reduction of psychopathological symptoms and circumstances. behavior problems (antisocial behavior, academic problems, That said, after reviewing some studies analyzing happiness, psychosomatic symptoms). As limitations of the study, we several behavioral and cognitive strategies are noted that promote mention the small age range of the sample of this study (14– feelings of happiness and that can be taken into account when 16 years) and the fact that it is a cross-sectional study. designing intervention programs to foster such feelings, for The meeting held by the United Nations (2011) pointed out example: (1) remain active and physically occupied (a healthy that the increase in chronic diseases represents a worldwide mind in a healthy body); (2) share activities with other people crisis. The accumulative cost of these diseases in the next the and do things for others; (3) focus on the present, preventing 20 years (2011–2030) will reach 30.4 trillion dollars (Bloom past experiences or concerns about the future from distorting et al., 2011), 46.7 trillion dollars if incurable mental diseases are the “here and now,” because happiness is an internal emotional also counted. This sum would be much lower if intervention state that can only be felt in the present; (4) set small goals programs were implemented to promote positive emotions to be sequenced toward a larger goal; (5) think positive, have and feelings of happiness, which have shown that happiness positive thoughts; (6) set feasible goals; (7) be capable of enjoying and health are related. That is, the implementation of socio- pleasant things, paying close attention and slowly savoring the emotional intervention programs would prevent mental health things that cause pleasure; (8) learn to give oneself small daily problems, thereby saving thousands of dollars and increasing the rewards; (9) accept what cannot be changed, learning to forgive population’s happiness. and be reconciled with the past, no matter how negative it may In spiteof being themost important lifegoal, thepursuit have been; (10) practice self-compassion to forgive oneself and of happiness has been considered by many a frivolity and feel thankful to others, because one’s own happiness is related an utopia. Can one pursue happiness? Can one learn from to that of others; (11) be aware of the positive aspects of life happiness? (see Avia, 2008). Independently of the circumstances and feel thankful for them; (12) learn new things and cultivate (promoting or hindering happiness), not everyone is equally appreciation of beauty and excellence (a picture, a sculpture, a able to feel happiness. The capacity to enjoy life depends musical melody, a sunset...); (13) coherence between cognition, on many factors, among others, biological characteristics emotion, and behavior (what one thinks, feels, and does); (14) and personality traits, which are consolidated and configured develop resilience or the capacity to cope with adversity and throughout childhood... Therefore, we should be aware that overcome it without letting it destroy or hurt one; and (15) love the programs aimed at fostering well-being and happiness have and be loved, have feelings of love for others and feel loved by the their limitations. The team of Lyubomirski et al. (2005)has people around one. in adolescents. Behav. 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Bull. 131, 803–855. doi: terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or 10.1037/0033-2909.131.6.803 reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor Lyubomirski, S., Sheldon, K. M., and Schkade, D. (2005). Pursuing happiness: are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance the architecture of sustainable change. Rev. Gen. Psychol. 55, 95–107. doi: with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted 10.1037/1089-2680.9.2.111 which does not comply with these terms. Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 10 August 2015 | Volume 6 | Article 1176

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