Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Life Stress, Optimism, and Life Satisfaction among School Students

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Life Stress, Optimism, and Life Satisfaction among School Students

Article excerpt

In the current decade, many researchers are focusing on stress and it has become a major area of interest for research. Many studies on stress have been carried out for individuals in different stages like childhood, adolescents, adulthood and old age. Stress is a person's response to a situation when an individual feels certain strain and pressure in his/her life. Each and every stage of development can be quite stressful. Adolescence is a period of a lot of physical and emotional changes and sometimes adolscents may not be able to understand the physical changes that take place within them. These physical and emotional changes may lead to stress. These kind of stresses lead to some problems in individual's life and reduces the satisfaction level of life. Studies have revealed that optimistic individual can easily overcome their stress and if they are satisfied with their life, their stress levels will reduce. Therefore, this study was focused on exploring positive outcomes in adolescents with special reference to interrelationships, gender difference in life stress, optimism and life satisfaction among adolescents.

Previous researches show that schools are main causes of stress for young people and that stress can lead to depression (Basch & Kersch, 1986). It is found that adolescent girls experience higher levels of stress when compared to boys and this heightened level of stress is related to stressful life events and interpersonal difficulties in close relationships like family, peers and romantic partners (Hankin, Mermelstein, & Roesch, 2007). Stress is associated with a lot of negative impact on human Ufe and it implicates negative consequences on health and well-being and there is emerging evidence that optimism can moderate the negative impact of stress. Optimism has been related to better psychological and physical well being, particularly during times of heightened stress (Smith & MacKenzie, 2006). There are studies which have emerging evidence that optimism can moderate the negative impact of stress and it was found that optimism is positively linked to coping strategies that actively aim to solve the problem, and negatively linked to avoidant coping strategies that ignore or avoid the stressor (Solberg Nes & Segerstrom, 2006). An optimistic outlook has been associated with less distress, better quality of life, better health outcomes, and lower diastolic blood pressure reactivity in stressful situations than a more pessimistic style (King, Rowe, Kimble, & Zerwic, 1998). Chang (1998) found that optimism serves as a moderator between stress and psychological well-being and also has a direct impact on psychological adjustments. Optimists are psychologically welladjusted and satisfied with life, engaged in adaptive behaviours, and tend to have better physical health (Rasmussen, Scheier & Greenhouse, 2009). Optimists and pessimists differ in their secondary appraisals of stressful situations, and an individual who is more optimistic reports low level of perceived stress (Chang, Rand & Strunk, 2000). Optimism is one positive trait that is strongly associated with satisfaction of life (Myers & Diener 1995). In another study conducted by Creed, Patton and Bartrum (2002), the dimensionality of the Life Orientation Test-Revised (Scheier, Carver & Bridges, 1994) was examined in a sample of high school students. They also studied the relationship of optimism and pessimism independently with career-related variables like career maturity, career decision making and goals and found that students with higher levels of optimism showed better career planning, career exploration, conviction in their career decisions and career goals. On the other hand, those high in pessimism were found to have lower levels of clarity regarding career-related variables and reported low school achievement. Furthermore, the literature supports the notion that optimism serves as a strong resilience factor during certain stages of life, especially adolescence (Tusaie-Mumford, 2001). …

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