Predictors of Young Adults' Well-being: A Comparison of Longitudinal and Cross-sectional Analyses
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis study was designed to explore the association between diet and nutrition, physical activity, substance use, delinquent behavior, self-esteem, religiosity, relations with parents, and well-being among young adults, considering gender as a moderating variable. I used the data from Add Health to conduct both longitudinal and cross-sectional analyses. The longitudinal analysis revealed that high self-esteem and religiosity during adolescence positively predicted young adults' well-being, that religiosity and good relations with parents during adolescence protected young adults from drug use, and that good relations with parents during adolescence protected young adults from property crime. The positive influence of physical activity during adolescence on well-being and the protective effect of religiosity during adolescence on property crime were particularly for young men; and the positive influence of good relations with parents during adolescence on well-being was particularly for young women. The cross-sectional analysis indicated that physical activity, high self-esteem, and good relations with parents during young adulthood positively predicted young adults' well-being, that religiosity during young adulthood protected young adults from drug use, and that high self-esteem during young adulthood protected young adults from property crime. The protective effects of good relations with parents during young adulthood on drug use and property crime were particularly for young men. Also, the cross-sectional positive effect of high self-esteem on well-being was significantly greater for females than for males. Comparisons of the longitudinal and cross-sectional analyses showed that self-esteem had a greater impact on young adults' well-being in cross-sectional than longitudinal analysis, and that the protective effect of religiosity on drug use was greater in longitudinal than cross-sectional analysis, but for males only. Implications of the findings, limitations of the study, and future research directions were also discussed.
Degree ProgramGraduate College