A recent study suggests that happy adolescents are less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
Researchers from the UC Davis found out that it is important to secure children’s happiness while they are still at home with parents. The report titled “Get Happy! Positive Emotion, Depression and Juvenile Crime” was presented by sociology professor and co-author Bill McCarthy and postdoctoral researcher Teresa Casey from UC Davis during the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting in Las Vegas last August 22.
In the study, nearly 15,000 seventh- to ninth-grade students took part in the survey which tackled criminal offenses, use of illegal drugs, and their emotional well-being. Data gathered showed that about 29% of the respondents have committed a criminal offense and 18% have tried the use of illegal drugs. These results were then linked as to how each student assesses his emotional state.
Researchers were able to uncover the fact that the importance of happiness in an individual’s life, especially among adolescents, reaches more extensive areas in their lives. The happier a child or adolescent is with his life, the less he becomes susceptible to drug use and criminal offenses.
The study is said to be one of the few which takes the value of happiness into consideration and its effect to juvenile crime. While other studies have focused on negative emotions such as anger and rage as the causes of improper conduct among adolescents, their study looked into the positive feelings as deterrents for drug use and crime.
The proponents of the study believe that happiness enhances the decision-making skills of kids and that a healthy and positive state of emotions can prevent them from committing illegal acts.