Association of Optimism and Health-Related Behavior with Mental Health in Czech Adolescents

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Year of publication 2016
Type Article in Proceedings
Conference The European Proceedings of Social & Behavioural Sciences
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Field Psychology
Keywords mental health; adolescents; optimism; health-related behavior
Description Dispositional optimism is a psychological trait associated with both physical and mental health in adults. Less is known about the associations between optimism and health among adolescents. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between dispositional optimism, health-related behavior and mental health among Czech adolescents. Further on, the effect of gender and age (early vs. late adolescence) on mental health levels was explored. Instruments: short form of the Mental Health Continuum (MHC-SF); Health Behaviours Scale; Life Orientation Test – Revised (LOT-R). Sample: 1376 Czech adolescents aged 11-19 (M = 15.9; SD = 2.3), 56.8% females. Statistical analysis: Hierarchical multiple regression analysis with three sets of predictors. The first set of predictors (age and gender) explained 7.3% of variance in MHC-SF scores; the second set of predictors – LOT-R optimism and pessimism scores – explained another 25% of variance; and the third set of predictors (health-related behaviors) explained additional 16.3% of variance. The final model explained 48.6% of variance in mental health among adolescents. Dimensions of dispositional optimism turned out to be the strongest set of predictors of positive mental health in adolescents, while health behavior components predicted the mental health levels to a lesser extent. Gender and age were also significant predictors of mental health, with boys and younger adolescents scoring higher.
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