Saturday, August 4, 2012

Study: Kids' Friends - Not Grades - Lead To Adult Well-Being

Source: Elena Elisseeva/via:
by Anna North, on BuzzFeed:

An obsession with academic success and college acceptance (at least in the media) has been giving way recently to an anxiety that a certain class of over-involved so-called "helicopter parents" may be pushing their kids too hard.

And now, new research shows that academic success may, indeed, not be the perfect preparation for a good life.

One team looked at a group of New Zealanders over a period of more than thirty years, and what they found may offer a corrective to twenty-first century American achievement obsession.

For a study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, psychologist Craig Olsson and his team analyzed data on 1,037 people born between 1972 and 1973, who were evaluated at regular intervals starting at age 3 and continuing into their thirties.

During their childhood and adolescence, evaluators looked at their academic achievement - measured by standardized tests, and self-reports of their performance - and their "social connectedness" - measured by factors like their communication and connection with their peers and their participation in groups and clubs.

Olsson et al looked at this data, and then at measures of the subjects' "well-being" at age 32 - their participation in community or hobby groups, their positive coping strategies, and their own feelings about whether they were kind, trustworthy, and reliable.

They found that social connectedness was highly correlated with adult well-being. Academic achievement, however, was not. The authors noted that they might have seen more of a connection if they'd included factors like job satisfaction in their measure of well-being, but they left these out on purpose.

Their goal was to study not the traditional markers of success, but instead to look at peoples' "positive emotional functioning, sense of coherence, social engagement and character values." And as it turns out, kids' social lives seem to have a greater effect on the development of those qualities than their test scores do.

This came as no surprise to John Stanrock, psychologist and author of the textbook Adolescence. He says there's a general feeling among some child development experts that in an age of No Child Left Behind and constant standardized testing, "the social world of adolescence has totally been neglected." He adds that schools don't spend enough money on counseling services, which can help kids with difficulties fit in better.

To read further, go to:

No comments:

Post a Comment