• June 2011

Are the Teens in Your Family Funny? It Might Make Them Healthier

By Robin Strongin
Creator, Chief Blogger
Disruptive Women in Health Care

Does your teen make you laugh? If so, he or she just might be healthier, according to research from the University of South Florida. Below, you’ll find details about these findings from our Disruptive Women in Health Care blogger Jenni Sunde.

A freelance fashion writer and pop culture junkie, Jenni writes about home and design, health and beauty, and more.

As the mother of a junior in college and a junior in high school, I fully enjoyed this article when we posted it May 10 on my blog, disruptivewomen.net, and I had to share it with the readers of Be Inkandescent Magazine. Here’s to laughing it up with your kids!

The Importance of Cultivating Your Kids’ Funny Bone

By Jenni Sunde
Disruptive Women in Health Care

The benefits of a sound mind and body can be traced all the way back to ancient Greco-Roman cultures. Despite how long the concepts behind mind and body connection have been around, they are frequently overlooked in our modern society.

The connection between mind and body is particularly impactful for adolescents; studies have shown that happier youths are, indeed, healthier youths.

Emily Shaffer-Hudkins and her team of researchers at the University of South Florida conducted a study that focused on the impact that positive emotions, moods, and overall satisfaction with life has on the health of teens.

Her research shows that these positive feelings, also known as subjective well-being, are more significant than depression and anxiety when it comes to physical health. Psychopathology has long been where the emphasis is placed when it comes to determining how the mind and body are connected.

Shaffer-Hudkins conducted an experiment with 401 students, grades 6-8, from a suburban Southeastern middle school in the United States. She monitored both their subjective well-being and psychopathological tendencies.

The study asked questions about the teens’ satisfaction with life; whether they were strong, proud, and excited, and whether they felt lonely, guilty, or sad. What Shaffer-Hudkins founds is that good mental health most often is linked to good physical health.

Mental health indicators explain roughly 30 percent of the difference in physical health ratings.

The findings show that subjective well-being has a significant, unique, and primary affect on predicting important physical health outcomes in youth.

In other words, subjective well-being is more strongly associated with physical functioning than psychopathology.

What Shaffer-Hudkins proposes is that we change our wellness models to ones that are more holistic, so as to incorporate the entire spectrum.

With current standards, the subjective well-being is often overlooked in terms of its impact on physical health when it actually is more prominent than poor mental health in terms of how much it can affect the body.

Click here to read more about this topic in Science Daily.

Click here to view the abstract of the original research paper, “How Adolescents’ Mental Health Predicts Their Physical Health: Unique Contributions of Indicators of Subjective Well-being and Psychopathology,” by Emily Shaffer-Hudkins, Shannon Suldo, Troy Loker, and Amanda March.

About Robin Strongin and her blog, Disruptive Women in Health Care

Robin Strongin is an accomplished public affairs expert, with more than 25 years of experience working in Washington, DC. Her areas of specialization include health care, science, technology, and innovation. Strongin has worked with and for federal and state governments, regulatory agencies, Congress, think tanks, nonprofit organizations, corporations, coalitions, and trade associations.

She founded Disruptive Women in Health Care in 2008 to serve as a platform for provocative ideas, thoughts, and solutions in the health sphere. “We recognize that to accomplish this, we need to call on experts outside of the health industry,” she asserts.

She is also the president of Amplify Public Affairs, the next generation in public affairs, leading the way in the integration of new media and traditional communications strategies.

Contact Strongin by email, rstrongin@amplifypublicaffairs.net. Sign up to receive daily blog postings at www.disruptivewomen.net.