Are happy teenagers more likely to divorce? That is what a British study recently found to be true. While most happiness research does not center on teens, a traditionally a sullen group, this particular study looked at people from birth to adulthood and made some interesting connections regarding the teenage years and probability of divorce in adulthood.
According to Time magazine, British researchers followed 2,776 individuals since their births in 1946. When the test subjects turned 13 and 15, school instructors evaluated several aspects of their lives, including energy levels, friendships, popularity and overall happiness. Any emotional and behavioral problems at school were noted by the teachers.
Once the test subjects became adults, researchers collected information about their happiness, mental health status, work experience, relationships and social activities. Not surprisingly, researchers discovered that people who were happier as children and teenagers were more likely to report strong social relationships, work satisfaction, good mental health and social activity later in life.
What did surprise researchers was that those who were happier as teens were significantly more likely to become divorced as adults. On the surface, this may seem confusing. Wouldn’t happy people naturally have long, happy marriages? Not necessarily.
Marriages become unhappy for a number of reasons. Sometimes, a person’s spouse changes so significantly that the two no longer share the same goals. Other times, a spouse may become verbally or physically abusive. Regardless of what made a marriage unhappy, people who are generally happier, have a solid support network and have a good job are in a better position to leave and make a new start.
Source: Time, “Happy Teenhood Leads to Happy Adulthood … and Divorce?,” Meredith Melnick, 1 March 2011