Global positive expectancies in adolescence and health-related behaviours: Longitudinal models of latent growth and cross-lagged effects

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Abstract

Constructs representative of global positive expectancies (GPE) such as dispositional optimism and hope have been theoretically and empirically linked to many positive mental and physical health outcomes. However such expectancies' health implications for adolescents, as well as their trajectory over time, are less well understood than for adult populations. This study tested whether GPE predict the key indicators of adolescents' future physical health status, their health-related behaviours. A prospective longitudinal study design was employed whereby a diverse population-based cohort (N = 744; mean age at baseline = 12) completed three surveys over approximately 18 months. Rigorous tests of causal predominance and reciprocal effects were conducted through latent growth and cross-panel structural equation models. Results showed GPE systematically decreased during the course of the study, yet higher initial levels of GPE predicted less alcohol drinking, healthier food choice and greater physical activity over time. GPE's protective relationships towards health protective behaviours (vs. health risk behaviours that also included tobacco smoking) appear more independent from depressive symptomatology, and the primary findings were robust across socio-demographic groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)916-937
Number of pages22
JournalPsychology and Health
Volume27
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2012

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Hope
Health
Growth
Structural Models
Risk-Taking
Alcohol Drinking
Population
Health Status
Longitudinal Studies
Mental Health
Smoking
Demography
Prospective Studies
Exercise
Food
Surveys and Questionnaires
Adolescent Health
Optimism

Keywords

  • adolescents
  • expectancies
  • health behaviour
  • hope
  • optimism
  • physical activity
  • substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Applied Psychology

Cite this

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abstract = "Constructs representative of global positive expectancies (GPE) such as dispositional optimism and hope have been theoretically and empirically linked to many positive mental and physical health outcomes. However such expectancies' health implications for adolescents, as well as their trajectory over time, are less well understood than for adult populations. This study tested whether GPE predict the key indicators of adolescents' future physical health status, their health-related behaviours. A prospective longitudinal study design was employed whereby a diverse population-based cohort (N = 744; mean age at baseline = 12) completed three surveys over approximately 18 months. Rigorous tests of causal predominance and reciprocal effects were conducted through latent growth and cross-panel structural equation models. Results showed GPE systematically decreased during the course of the study, yet higher initial levels of GPE predicted less alcohol drinking, healthier food choice and greater physical activity over time. GPE's protective relationships towards health protective behaviours (vs. health risk behaviours that also included tobacco smoking) appear more independent from depressive symptomatology, and the primary findings were robust across socio-demographic groups.",
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