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Early relationships key to adult happiness

August 12, 2012

MELBOURNE, Aug. 3 (UPI) — Social connectedness during adolescence — including attachment with parents, peers and school — are key to adult well-being, Australian researchers say.

Craig Olsson of Deakin University and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Australia, and colleagues analyzed data for 804 people who were part of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study in New Zealand and were tracked for as long as 32 years.

The researchers analyzed the relationship between level of family poverty in childhood, social connectedness in childhood, language development in childhood, social connectedness in adolescence, academic achievement in adolescence and well-being in adulthood.

Social connectedness in childhood was defined by the parent and teacher ratings of the child being liked, not being alone and the child’s level of confidence, while social connectedness in adolescence was demonstrated by social attachments and participation in youth groups and sporting clubs, Olsson said.

The study, published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, said there was an enduring significance of positive social relationships that lasts into adulthood, but early language development and adolescent academic achievement had a weak connection to adult well-being.

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