Subjective Psychological Well-Being Of Adolescents With Different Family Status

Abstract

We study the subjective psychological well-being of adolescents in the unity of cognitive-evaluative, affective components and satisfaction of basic life needs. Sample: 207 adolescents aged 14–17 years (107 adolescents, pupils of state orphanages, and 100 adolescents living in parental families). Research methods: the scale of life satisfaction (E. Diener), the scale of satisfaction of life needs O.S. Kopina, developed in connection with the tasks of studying the questionnaire of satisfaction with different areas of life, self-assessment of living conditions and different aspects of life activity; questionnaire of life events, containing questions about the number of significant events of the past, present and future and emotional attitude to them. It is shown that satisfaction with life is a general indicator in the structure of subjective psychological well-being of adolescents associated with assessments of satisfaction with various aspects of life and the level of satisfaction of needs. The specificity of the parameters of the subjective psychological well-being of adolescents living in different family and social conditions is revealed, which manifests itself in satisfaction with different aspects of life, in satisfaction of basic needs, as well as in those areas of life in which activity contributes to the subjective well-being of the individual. The study of multilevel indicators of subjective psychological well-being revealed their inclusion in the sign and meaningful characteristics of the factors included in the statistical analysis, which confirmed our understanding of this phenomenon in the unity of cognitive, emotional components and indicators of needs satisfaction.

Keywords: Adolescentssubjective well-beingdevelopmental situationliving conditionstypes of activity

Introduction

In conditions of increasing the level and quality of life of a modern person, issues of satisfaction with life do not lose their relevance. However, in the framework of scientific discourse there is no single definition of this phenomenon. But in the approaches of different authors, one can note its general characteristics: the complexity of the structure and subjectivity of perception, including a person’s attitude to his legal capacity, self-efficacy, social status, personal and family well-being, self-realization in activities, by the time of his life, etc. ( Andreenkova, 2010; Shamionov, 2014; Vodyakha & Vodyakha, 2015).

The concept of life satisfaction as a subjective psychological well-being is widely used in foreign psychology. In the framework of the hedonistic approach of Diener et al. ( 2004), it represents a three-component structure, including positive affect, the absence of negative affect and satisfaction with life.

Shamionov ( 2012) considers subjective well-being as a dynamic, complex socio-psychological formation, reflecting in the unity of emotional-volitional and cognitive processes the subjective, emotionally colored attitude of a person to the content side of events and phenomena.

An analysis of subjective well-being factors shows that a few authors connect it mainly with economic, social, political and other objective external conditions and satisfaction of needs ( Bahar et al., 2018; Mardasova & Grigoriev, 2015). Representatives of families with a higher socioeconomic status also demonstrate a higher satisfaction with life compared with those with a low socioeconomic status ( Diener et al., 2018; Eroglu et al., 2009; İkiz & Telef, 2013). It has also been shown that cultural and ethnic factors make a significant contribution to subjective well-being and life satisfaction ( Bocharova, 2013).

Other researchers argue that the presence of objective external parameters does not provide subjective well-being, their influence is largely mediated by personal qualities (optimism, self-efficacy, values, locus of control, etc.), attitudes, ability to self-regulation, coping behavior strategies, etc. ( Kulikov, 2000; Riquel et al., 2017; Shamionov, 2015; Vodyakha, 2013).

There is also a point of view that combines these approaches, according to which subjective well-being is influenced by both objective factors (social, living conditions, living environment) and individual-personality characteristics ( Davern et al., 2007; Troshikhina & Manukyan, 2017; Yaremchuk, 2013).

The presence of a significant number of scientific approaches and points of view, as well as differences in the results, may partly be due to the variety of methodological apparatus used, as well as the difficulties in operationalizing the concepts of subjective well-being, life satisfaction, and their relationship ( Archakova et al., 2017).

Problem Statement

The study is aimed at studying the psychological content of the subjective well-being of adolescents. The study involved 207 respondents aged 14–17 years, including 107 orphans and 100 adolescents living in parental families).

Research Questions

We suggested that the structure of subjective well-being is a complex phenomenon, including an individually stable affective component (satisfaction with life) and a more dynamic and cognitively evaluative, dependent on external factors, representing a person’s assessment of his activity, life events and its different sides. We believe that the structure of the subjective well-being of adolescents varies depending on the conditions of development and life and is supported by different directions of their activity.

Purpose of the Study

The aim of the study was to study the subjective well-being of adolescents, differing in the conditions of social and family development. Tasks: 1. Studying the parameters of subjective well-being. 2. A study of the inclusion of characteristics of satisfaction, activity and eventful saturation in the subjective well-being of adolescents. 3. Identification of features and resources of subjective well-being of adolescents with different family status.

Research Methods

The scale of satisfaction with the life of E. Diener in adaptation Osin and Leontiev ( 2008); The scale of satisfaction of vital needs ( Kopina et al., 1994) from the methodology "Express diagnostics of the level of psychoemotional stress and its sources" (PES); A questionnaire of satisfaction with different areas of life (school, family, leisure, relationships with friends, peers, romantic relationships, etc.) with ratings on a scale from 0 to 10 points; Self-assessment questionnaire of social activity with questions about participation in public organizations, extracurricular activities (from 1 to 3 points) and other types of activity: leisure and entertainment, cognitive, communicative, sports and fitness, cultural and aesthetic with a scale from 0 to 9 ( Golovey & Danilova, 2019); A questionnaire of life events containing questions about significant life events and their emotional attitude to them, compiled on the basis of the Psychological Autobiography methodology by Burlachuk and Korzhova ( 1998).

Findings

The study of life satisfaction by the method of E. Diener showed that in adolescents raised in families, overall satisfaction is at the average level (23.8). The parameter “life is going well” (5.40) received the highest score among its constituent parameters; the parameter “wouldn’t change anything in life” is also above the average (4.19), which indicates the subjective well-being of these adolescents. In the group of orphaned adolescents, the general indicator of life satisfaction is on the lower boundary of average normative values 20.17). The highest score for individual indicators – “everything is necessary in life” (4.86), and the lowest – “in life, I would not change anything” (2.21). Significant differences were found in the parameters “life is going well” (p<0.05) and “I wouldn’t change anything in life” (p<0.001), which is significantly higher in adolescents from families. In terms of overall satisfaction, no significant differences were obtained.

The content analysis, according to the results of the questionnaire, allowed us to distinguish the following categories of significant life events:

as a positive event of the past, all teenagers call the appearance of pets and travel. Respondents from families also noted education, their own birth, the appearance of siblings, playing sports, holidays, victories in competitions and contests, moving; orphan teens celebrate the acquisition of new friends, gifts, life in an orphanage, loss of faith in people is also indicated as a positive event. All adolescents noted the death of a loved one as a common negative event of the past. Teenagers from families call the divorce of parents, the death of an animal, health problems, a change of school, as well as difficulties in relationships with friends. Orphan teens highlight events such as the transfer from one orphanage to another, failure to fulfill desires, situations in the parental family (leaving one of them from the family; parting with them), getting into the orphanage, situations at school.

teenagers highlight sports activities and admission to study as general positive events of the present. The specificity is that adolescents from families mention walking, leisure, talking with kids, relatives and friends, romantic relationships, vacations, traveling, shopping. Orphans as positive events highlight communication with friends, their luck and victory, unexpected calls or meetings with family. As negative events in the present, adolescents from families stand out: problems with relatives, illness, failure to study, cessation of sports or other activities due to the workload, quarrels with friends. It is worth noting that most orphaned teenagers found it difficult to identify negative events now of their lives. In our opinion, this may indicate not so much a reluctance to openly share your personal information, but rather a manifestation of psychological defenses and an unwillingness to leave the comfort zone.

It is noteworthy that both adolescents from families and pupils of boarding schools expect mostly positive events in the future, including family formation, career building, travel, sports achievements. Respondents from families also suggest getting an education, talking with friends, fulfilling a dream (lake house, parachute jump), holidays. Teenagers deprived of parental care mark graduation, the acquisition of a specialty, the search for their place in life. Adolescents from families distinguish old age and death as negative events, and orphan teens identify uncertainty and generally anxiety about the future.

The distribution of indicators of eventful saturation and emotional attitude showed that adolescents, regardless of the presence or absence of a family, turn more to past events, to a lesser extent to future events and weakly reflect the present of their life. A comparative analysis found that adolescents from families were significantly more likely (p <0.001) than orphans to believe that their life in the past was full of positive events. At the same time, a single-sample comparative analysis conducted within each group showed that all adolescents report more positive events in life than negative ones (p <0.05).

The questionnaires offered to adolescents included questions about satisfaction with different aspects of life and about social and vital activity (participation in public organizations, extracurricular activities and leisure activities). Self-assessment of satisfaction with different spheres of life among all respondents varies in the range of average and above average values from 6.02 to 7.51 points), except for the sphere of romantic relationships (4.79) and relaxation (5.35), which generally does not contradict the revealed average level of subjective well-being. The differences between the groups are that the pupils of the orphanage institution experience less satisfaction with the educational sphere (p <0.006), financial situation (p <0.035), family relations (p <0.0015), since most of them have parents. These results indicate that, in orphan teens, dissatisfaction relates more to areas that meet age-related development goals.

Satisfaction of basic life needs in general in both groups is diagnosed above 47 points and corresponds to high values, while revealing at a 5% level of significance differences in meeting information needs, material security, the possibility of using money, and the cultural and aesthetic sphere, which are less satisfied in orphans.

The analysis of social activity found that adolescents do not seek to participate in social life (adolescents from families 1.66; orphans 2.17), while it should be noted that adolescents without parental care show significantly higher social activity (p <0.05). All adolescents often visit museums, art exhibitions, concerts, theaters and cinemas (events of aesthetic orientation: adolescents from families 7.0; orphans 6.0); meet friends, participate in family events (communicative activity: teens from families 6.45; orphans 4.5), and also attend recreational activities (cafes, attractions: teens from families 4.8; orphans 5.75). Whereas cognitive activity (creativity, gaining new knowledge, broadening the horizons: adolescents from families 5.39; orphans 2.5), and sports and recreational activities (gym, pool, ice rink, trips: adolescents from families 5.1; orphans 2.25) are implemented more actively by adolescents from families (p <0.05).

Correlation analysis conducted to identify the structure of parameters of psychological well-being, found numerous positive relationships (p≤0.05 and p≤0.01), the center of which was an indicator of overall life satisfaction. The analysis found both generality and differences in the structure of relations in the group of adolescents from families and in the group of orphans. It turned out to be common that indicators of a temporary and emotional assessment of life events are practically not included in the structure of subjective well-being of adolescents. In the group of adolescents from families, numerous and close ties of satisfaction with life with satisfaction with prospects, family relationships, romantic relationships, studies, extracurricular activities, material well-being were found. In the group of orphaned teens, the indicator of overall satisfaction with life formed interconnections only with satisfaction with financial situation and extracurricular activities.

The results of the analysis identify resources and areas that contribute to creating a positive balance of subjective well-being. Teens have fewer orphans. An important resource independent of the presence or absence of a family is satisfaction with occupations (hobbies, hobbies).

Conclusion

The study showed that adolescents are generally satisfied with their life, they are positive about their life events. Of relevance to them is the sphere of intimate and personal communication, the search for love and a loved one, as well as the need for a good rest, satisfaction of needs in these areas barely reaches average values.

The obtained close interconnections between all components of subjective psychological well-being indicates the multicomponent nature of its structure and the importance for its achievement of satisfying basic needs, creating conditions for satisfaction with different spheres of life and solving problems of age-related development.

A study of the subjective well-being of adolescents living in different social conditions did not reveal significant differences between groups in terms of satisfaction with life in general, i.e., the affective side of well-being turned out to be weakly sensitive to social conditions of life. This fact, as well as the absence of significant correlations of life satisfaction with indicators of positive and negative events of different times, emphasizes the stability of subjective well-being and its great dependence on individual-personality characteristics, which is consistent with research data ( Kulikov, 2000; Shamionov, 2012; Tellegen et al., 1998; Vodyakha, 2013). This can also be a confirmation of a certain level of homeostasis of subjective well-being, which, according to a few studies, is supported by adaptation mechanisms, positive affect, optimism, and cognitive mechanisms ( Cummins & Nistico, 2002). At the same time, according to the parameters of satisfaction with different spheres and aspects of life, related to more extensive characteristics than private events and situations, significant differences were found between adolescents living in different social conditions, which indicates the dynamism and susceptibility to external influences of this component of well-being.

Thus, it can be assumed that in the structure of well-being, the affective side is a basic individually stable characteristic, and the cognitively evaluative one is a dynamic characteristic and more subject to the influence of social environment conditions.

The general and specific features of the studied groups of adolescents have been identified in their satisfaction with different areas of life, which can be considered as resources to increase their well-being. The main resource for adolescents, of course, is family and satisfaction with family relationships. For adolescents living in an orphanage, material needs, and leisure activities can be resources. The greatest number of resources for increasing satisfaction with life is available to adolescents living in families. Among them, material well-being, satisfaction with prospects, romantic relationships, school staff, study.

One of the mechanisms for regulating psychological well-being in various fields of activity may be its positive relationship with the satisfaction of vital needs and with various types of activity, which is consistent with the data of Bocharova ( 2012) obtained from a sample of adults. As a positive life resource in adolescence, one can consider mainly positive assessments of real-time and expected events at the same time, as well as a positive attitude to one’s life in general.

References

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Publisher

European Publisher

First Online

31.10.2020

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2020.10.05.209

Online ISSN

2357-1330