According to a study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies the friends you make in high school may be a larger contributor to your lifelong happiness than how well you did in class.
“The purpose of the study was to investigate the relative importance of child and adolescent social and academic pathways to well-being in adulthood (32-years) indicated by a sense of meaning, social engagement, positive coping and prosocial values.”
~A 32-Year Longitudinal Study of Child and Adolescent Pathways to Well-Being in Adulthood
The study was conducted by researchers in New Zealand and encompassed 1,037 children from three years of age to 38 years of age. Researchers found that “adolescent social connectedness was a better predictor of adult well-being than academic achievement.”
Social connectedness between the ages of 15 and 18 years of age was measured by:
- peer social inclusiveness and cooperative playing with other children
- confidence level
- sharing and talking with others
- participation in clubs and groups
- self-perceived competencies and strengths
- life satisfaction
Given these findings, one has to wonder if all of our focus on academic achievement, test scores, and getting into college is going to result in a world of less-happy adults. Perhaps it’s time to start helping high school students create a better balance between making connections and making grades.