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Hope as Mediator Between Teacher–Student Relationships and Life Satisfaction Among Chinese Adolescents: A Between- and Within-Person Effects Analysis

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  • Southwest University; University of California, Berkeley
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Life satisfaction is a critical indicator of student development. Although several longitudinal studies have examined the predictors of life satisfaction, this study has several unique strengths. First, it examines hope (i.e., a positive motivation and power for success and happiness) as a possible mediator variable. Second, it separates between-person effects (i.e., people with hope perceive higher life satisfaction than those who are less hope) and within-person effects (i.e., a hope person perceived higher life satisfaction over time). Participants were 836 Chinese adolescents aged 13–18 years (M = 15.89, SD = 0.68, 59.2% boys). Multilevel statistical models were used to disaggregate between- and within-person effects. Results showed that teacher-student relationships were positively associated with hope and life satisfaction and that hope was positively associated with life satisfaction. These associations were significant both at one point in time (between-person effect) and over time (within-person effect). Moreover, at both the between- and within-person levels hope was found to be a significant mediator of the association between teacher-student relationships and life satisfaction. That is, within a given individual, a more favorable perceived teacher-student relationship at a given time point was a significant positive predictor of hope for that individual, and in turn, hope was associated with significantly greater life satisfaction at that particular time point. Identification of hope as an explanatory mechanism in the association between teacher-student relationships and life satisfaction in Chinese adolescents provides a potential target for interventions to improve students’ well-being.
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Vol.:(0123456789)
Journal of Happiness Studies (2019) 20:2367–2383
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-018-0052-6
1 3
RESEARCH PAPER
Hope asMediator Between Teacher–Student Relationships
andLife Satisfaction Among Chinese Adolescents:
ABetween‑ andWithin‑Person Eects Analysis
QianNie1· ZhaojunTeng1 · GeorgeG.Bear2· ChengGuo1· YanlingLiu1·
DajunZhang1
Published online: 29 October 2018
© Springer Nature B.V. 2018
Abstract
Life satisfaction is a critical indicator of student development. Although several longitudi-
nal studies have examined the predictors of life satisfaction, this study has several unique
strengths. First, it examines hope (i.e., a positive motivation and power for success and
happiness) as a possible mediator variable. Second, it separates between-person effects
(i.e., people with hope perceive higher life satisfaction than those who are less hope) and
within-person effects (i.e., a person with hope perceives higher life satisfaction over time).
Participants were 1108 Chinese adolescents aged 14–18 years (M = 15.89, SD = 0.68,
57.7% boys). Multilevel statistical models were used to disaggregate between- and within-
person effects. Results showed that teacher–student relationships were positively associated
with hope and life satisfaction and that hope was positively associated with life satisfaction.
These associations were significant both at one point in time (between-person effect) and
over time (within-person effect). Moreover, at both the between- and within-person levels
hope was found to be a significant mediator of the association between teacher–student
relationships and life satisfaction. That is, within a given individual, a more favorable per-
ceived teacher–student relationship at a given time point was a significant positive predic-
tor of hope for that individual, and in turn, hope was associated with significantly greater
life satisfaction at that particular time point. Identification of hope as an explanatory
mechanism in the association between teacher–student relationships and life satisfaction
in Chinese adolescents provides a potential target for interventions to improve students’
well-being.
Keywords Teacher–student relationship· Hope· Life satisfaction· Between-person
effects· Within-person effects
* Zhaojun Teng
tzj450@email.swu.edu.cn
* Dajun Zhang
zhangdj@swu.edu.cn
1 Research Center ofMental Health Education, Faculty ofPsychology, Southwest University, No 2,
Tiansheng Road, Beibei District, Chongqing, China
2 School ofEducation, University ofDelaware, Willard Hall Education Building, Newark,
DE19716, USA
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
... In sum, the teacher can provide a positive relational model to their students, thereby helping them develop positive beliefs about themselves and others, develop adaptive social and emotional skills and self-confidence, and deal with problematic situations Pianta, 1999). In this direction, recent research conducted among Chinese teenagers (Nie et al., 2018) found that the perception of a closer relationship with one's teacher increases one's score concerning hope. Hope is a central construct in positive psychology and is recognized as a factor that promotes psychological well-being in adults and children alike (Liu et al., 2020;Snyder, Cheavens, & Sympson, 1997;Valle et al., 2004). ...
... According to hope theory, hope's central feature involves planning and achieving one's goals through means associated with cognitive and motivational factors (Snyder, Cheavens & Sympson, 1997). Hope is linked to an increase in psychological well-being not only because it encourages individuals to achieve their goals but also because it encourages positive emotions, contrasts negative emotions, and correlates with mental health effects (Ling et al., 2016;Liu et al., 2020;Nie et al., 2018). ...
... These data replicate the study of Nie et al. (2018) conducted on a sample of Chinese teenagers. In line with these authors, our study additionally identifies hope's role in mediating the relationship between closeness in studentteacher relationships and measures of psychological wellbeing. ...
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... Well-being is a critical indicator of student mental health, which is associated with a number of positive outcomes among students, with research showing it to be associated with their high quality interpersonal relationship and better academic achievement (Diener and Chan 2011;Nie et al. 2019;Park 2004). Subjective well-being focuses on the hedonic aspect of well-being, which is generally considered to include two related but distinct components: Emotional and cognitive well-being (Diener 1994;Kong et al. 2015). ...
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