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«February 2015 Volume 5 Issue 1 ISSN: 2146-7463 JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL AND INSTRUCTIONAL STUDIES IN THE WORLD February 2015, ...»

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Abstract Earlier research have denoted to a significant connection of life satisfaction with numerous aspects from the sphere of mental health, as well as with the academic achievement. The aim of this research was to determine the intensity and direction of connection between the mentioned variables. Special attention was given to the research of the connection between life satisfaction and academic success, as well as the prediction of life satisfaction based on the values of anxiety, depression and school achievements amongst the students. The sample consists of the students (N=321) from the University of Pristina located in Kosovska Mitrovica. The results have shown that life satisfaction is in statistically significant and positive correlation with the academic success (r= 0.140, p 0.05), while being in a negative correlation with anxiety (r= -0.342, p 001) and depressiveness (r= -0.492, p 001). Likewise, there is a possibility to predict the life satisfaction based on the academic success, anxiety and depressiveness (the percent of explained varianceis is 27%). The results partly match the earlier findings in this area of research.

Key Words: Academic achievement, life satisfaction, anxiety, depressiveness, students.


In the process of searching for health factors, the role and significance of positive psychology is unavoidable, as a relatively new psychological discipline which primarily focuses on positive experience, personality characteristics and conditions which enable the individual as well as the group, to develop and function in an adequate way. The representatives of positive psychology are trying to promote the factors which enable the individuals and communities to grow and develop (Rijavec, 2008), to be able to scientifically study human strength and happiness (Rijaves et al., 2008), emphasize the importance to organize a research, take various measures of prevention in order to protect and improve mental health. The most researched construct in the

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sphere of positive psychology is the so-called ‘biased well-being’, which is considered to be one of the most important indicators of positive mental health (Jovanović i Novović, 2008). The biased well-being or humanwelfare is a relatively new construct in psychology; it is considered a primary dimension of human experience (Kamman at al., 1984) and one of the three adaptable outcomes of stress, next to the social functioning of somatic health (Lazarus, 1991).

One of the newer constructs of positive psychology beside the common concepts (biased well-being,human welfare, happiness, life quality, the meaning of life etc.) is the construct of life satisfaction, which represents an integral part of a wider concept of biased well-being or welfare. Life satisfaction refers to the global evaluation of personal life (Penezić,2006), it represents a component of an individuals’ biased well-being (Božin, 1996) or part of happiness which is accordingly interpreted as a feeling of well-being, a complete and continuous individuals’ satisfaction with life as well as the dominance of positive feelings (Kammann et al., 1984).

There is a disagreement among the researchers regarding the definition of life satisfaction construct. According to one of the definitions, life satisfaction concept presents a complete perception and evaluation of someone’s life and is often being described as a cognitive component of a biased well-being, while the feeling of happiness represents an emotional component and is being described as a frequent feeling of positive emotions (Diener et al.,2002) and refers to the frequency of experiencing positive and negative emotions.

Life satisfaction is a subject of many researches ((Diener & Diener, 1995; Arslan et all., 2010),with various methodologies being used, while the interpretation of data presents a problem due to the lack of standards (Cummins,1995). The research data in which the scales of well-being were analysed, show that the scales of well-being are differing only from the scales of stress (Kammann et al.,1984), while the scales of neuroticism, depression and anxiety have also measured well-being, in the positive part of their scale.

Various studies have been trying to link life satisfaction with numerous factors of physical and psychological functioning of the individual. According to Acton (Acton,1994) and later on according to Argyle (Argaly, 1999), research were confirming the connection of life satisfaction with depression, mental health, self-perception, calmness, vitality, self-control, moral, health, self-respect, worries, stress, work satisfaction, marriage satisfaction, family satisfaction, happiness, parenting satisfaction, school success etc. On numerous occasions the connection between life satisfaction and some socio-demographic variables was confirmed, so Andrews and Withney (Andrews & Withney, 1976) have pointed out that different social-demographic variables can explain about 8% of a biased well-being variance. Some traits of personality have better predictability (Costa & McCrae, 1980; Diener et all, 2002). Costa and McCrae pointed that extroversion can interpret about 8% of biased well-being, while the neuroticism which is in a negative correlation with life satisfaction, can interpret about 27% of variance. The results of the research have also shown that there is a connection between the meaning of life and a proactive stress overcoming (Frydenberg & Lewis, 2004; Hutchinson et all, 2007), as well as between the meaning of life and self-respect (Ryff, 1989; Steger, 2006; Steger et all., 2006; Debats, 1996;

Minić et all, 2010). Direct and significant connection has been confirmed to exist between the meaning of life and life satisfaction in numerous research studies (Bonebright et all, 2000; Chamberlain & Zika, 1988; Keyes et all, 2002; Ryff, 1989, Steger, 2006; Steger et all, 2006; Zika & Chamberlain, 1992). Casas and associates (Casas et all, 2004) offer the data about the existance of positive relation between life satisfaction and the sphere of general life satisfaction; as well as the data proving that life satisfaction is in positive correlation with the immaterial values among the adolescents included in the study (Casas et all., 2004).

Various studies have searched for the predictions of life satisfaction, ans as a result they concluded that the good predictions of life satisfaction are hope (Bailey et all, 2007; Olson-Madden, 2008; Wong & Lim, 2009), selfrespect (Campbell, 1981; Diener & Diener, 1995; Olson-Madden, 2008), positive attitude towards life (Penezić, Ivanov, 2000), but as well, a better material status (Martinis, 2005). The results of the study also show that self-respect is significantly connected with satisfaction with one’s family (Diener & Diener, 1995).

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There are contradictory results when it comes to the link between life satisfaction and age. And while Diener (Diener, 1984), аnd later on Penezić (1999) report that that there is no significant correlation between life satisfaction and age, Wilson (Wilson, 1967, in: Horley & Lavery, 1995) claims that there is a negative correlation showing that older examinees are less happy than the younger ones. Horley and Lavery (Horley & Lavery, 1995) came up with the results which are showing that satisfaction with life raises with age, particularly with the examinees older than 40.

Although it is possible to reach a conclusion that this issue is being quite well and empiricaly researched,based on this review of relevant studies in the field of human well-being, the question of real correlation among the variables remains open, as well as the question of clear defining and proper terminology designation for numerous constructs in the area of salutogenic orientation and salutogenic approach to health.

Penezić (Penezić, 2006) emphasizes that the majority of current studies of life satisfaction were mostly of correlational type and the question of direction and depth of causality remains. This author suggests the future research in the ares should be organized in the experimental form, quazi-experimental research,and lastly as a panel study (Penezić, 2006, s 649).

Research in our country have gained data speaking in favour of the existance of quite satisfactory values of life satisfaction as well as some other resources for stress overcoming among the youth (Ranđelović,Minić, 2012).

Some studies in our country have mentioned the importance of correlation between life satisfaction and school success. (Bozin, 2003; Ranđelović, Kostić, Minić, 2013).

As indicated by Bozin (Božin, 2003) school performance is the outcome of prevalence, but it is also generalized resource of one’s resistance, which facilitates overcoming of tensions connected to school and education. For Bozin (Božin, 2003) school performance is a psychological question, and he searches for the answer in salutogenic model of Antonovsky (Aaron Antonovsky). Based on principles of salutogenic model and salutogenic orientation, Bozin (Božin, 2003) emphasizes that school performance represents the place which one person occupies in imagined continuum; one end of this continuum stands for ‘outstanding success’, the other represents ‘complete failure’. Cognitive abilities, prior knowledge, parents’ aspirations connected to education of children, motivation, social support and so on, are representing important factors of school performance, which Bozin (Božin, 2003) in line with salutogenic model, identifies as generalized resources of resistance, important for successful overcoming of the so called ’’school stressors.

Nevertheless, it is a fact that life satisfaction is de facto connected with the various aspects of mental health (Ranđelović i Minić, 2012), and there are empirical data proving that mental health among the young in Serbia is quite disturbed (Dimitrijević, Ranđelović, 2012; Ranđelović, 2011; Žikic et all, 2013). All this points to the need to empirically follow the data referring to this aspect of human’s life.

Dimitrijević and Ranđelović (Dimitrijevic, Randjelovic, 2012) report about some aspects of mental health among the students of the University of Niš. The study primarily focused on the objective (primary aggression and stress) and subjective (the attitudes of students) indicators of the students’ needs for using the services of the Psychological Counseling Center. A part of these results is presented by the authors Dimitrijević and Ranđelović (Dimitrijević and Ranđelović, 2012). The sample consisted of 988 students studying at the universities in the south of Serbia (Niš and Kosovska Mitrovica) The result indicates that the students have statistically significant higher level of the prominence of the primary aggression compared to average values.

The majority of students (81.2%) think that the psychological counseling for students should exist, and that they would probably use (60.1% of the total sample size) the services provided by this free student’s service.

Despite the fact that 62.4% of students have at least once felt the need to talk about their problems to a psychologist, and that there is the willingness to use the services of the free psychological counseling center, so far, the insufficient number of students have actually asked for help. Those who said that they have never felt the need to talk about their problems to a psychologist have statistically significant higher level of primary aggressiveness and are more susceptible to stress than those who have felt the need, and who have indicated their willingness to use the services of the psychological counseling center. Dimitrijević and Ranđelović (2012) 65 Copyright © International Journal on New Trends in Education and Their Implications / www.ijonte.org


IN THE WORLD November 2014, Volume: 4 Issue: 4 Article: 09 ISSN: 2146-7463 emphasize that the experience of the Psychological Counseling Center in Niš shows an increase in the number of students who decide to report to a psychologist.

Another study from this region by the authors Žikic and others (Žikic et all, 2013) states the results of the study which dealt with anxiety and depressiveness among the students with “childhood War-related” experiences.

The aim of the study was to determine the differences in intensity of anxiety and depressiveness, as well as frequency of clinically relevant form of this emotion, among those students who were exposed to warfare during childhood. The study included 324 students from Serbia and Kosovo, aged 18-25. At the time of the clashes (in 1999), their ages ranged from 6 to 13 years. The authors used the General questionnaire, the Beck Depression Inventory I (BDI-I), and the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI). Approximately 2/3 of all of the examinees had clinically significant anxiety, while 1/3 had clinically significant depressiveness. The females had higher intensity of anxiety (16.22 vs. 11.6; p0.001) and depressiveness (9.57 vs. 7.05; p=0.004) than males. The examinees who reported war related experiences (WREs) from two or three types of events had more intense anxiety (p=0.013) and depressiveness (p=0.013) than a group with one or no WREs. There is an association between WREs during childhood and anxiety as well as depression in adolescence, more prominent in females.

A significant number of foreign researchers have been studying the connection between life satisfaction and some aspects of mental health (Guney et all, 2010; Headey et all,1993). Giney and his associates report about the results of interrelation between life satisfaction, anxiety, depression, and hopelessness among Ankara University students (N=364). Life satisfaction was negatively and significantly correlated with the scores from depression, anxiety and hopelessness scales. The findings suggest that the relationship between developing a psychological problem is highly associated with the perceived levels of anxiety, depression and life satisfaction.

In addition, life satisfaction can be taken into account as a moderator variable for mental health studies.

Some interesting findings stated by Headey and his associates (Headey et all,1993). The results of their research study have shown that one of the well-being dimensions, life satisfaction, is quite strongly correlated with a distress dimension, depression. A person is unlikely to be both satisfied with life and depressed, but may be satisfied and anxious.


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