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Looking for adolescents' well-being: self-efficacy beliefs as determinants of positive thinking and happiness

  • Gian Vittorio Caprara (a1), Patrizia Steca (a2), Maria Gerbino (a1), Marinella Paciello (a1) and Giovanni Maria Vecchio (a1)...


Aims – The present study is part of a longitudinal project aimed at identifying the personal characteristics and the developmental pathways conducive to successful adaptation from childhood to adulthood. The study examined the concurrent and longitudinal impact of self-efficacy beliefs on subjective well-being in adolescence, namely positive thinking and happiness. Positive thinking has been operationalized as the latent dimension underlying life satisfaction, self-esteem and optimism. Happiness has been operationalized as the difference between positive and negative affects, as they are experienced in a variety of daily situations. Methods – In a group of 664 Italian adolescents, a structural model positing adolescents' emotional and interpersonal self-efficacy beliefs as proximal and distal determinants of positive thinking and happiness has been tested. Results – Findings attest to the impact of affective and interpersonal-social self-efficacy beliefs on positive thinking and happiness both concurrently and longitudinally. Conclusions – Adolescents' self-efficacy beliefs to manage positive and negative emotions and interpersonal relationships contribute to promote positive expectations about the future, to mantain a high self-concept, to perceive a sense of satisfaction for the life and to experience more positive emotions.

Declaration of Interest: none.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Professor G.V. Caprara, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, 2 University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Via dei Marsi 78, 00185 Rome (Italy). Fax: +39-06-4469.115 E-mail:


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