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J Sch Psychol. 2013 Apr;51(2):231-42. doi: 10.1016/j.jsp.2012.12.002. Epub 2013 Jan 4.

The upward spiral of adolescents' positive school experiences and happiness: investigating reciprocal effects over time.

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University of Linz, Austria.


In line with self-determination theory and Fredrickson's (2001) broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions, this study adopts a positive perspective on students' school experiences and their general psychological functioning. The reciprocal effects of positive school experiences and happiness, a dimension of affective well-being, are examined over the course of an academic year. Data were collected from 215 secondary school students at 5 measurement occasions. The results of longitudinal cross-lagged structural equation modeling support the notion of an upward spiral of positive school experiences and happiness over time. Positive school experiences had a stable lagged effect on happiness, and, in turn, happiness had a lagged effect on future positive school experiences.

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