Original Articles

Psychosocial Well-being in a Group of South African Adolescents

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 20, issue 1, 2010 , pages: 53–60
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2010.10820342
Author(s): Izanette van SchalkwykNorth-West University (Potchefstroom Campus), South Africa, Marié P. WissingNorth-West University (Potchefstroom Campus), South Africa


The aim of this study was to explore the psychosocial well-being of a group of South African adolescents. Participants (N=665, ages 15–17 years; males = 214, females = 451) from three high schools completed questionnaires on psychosocial well-being. Structured interviews were also conducted with 24 participants selected from various levels of functioning as established quantitatively. Quantitative findings indicate that 60% of the adolescents had lower psychological well-being as measured on the Mental Health Continuum-Short Form (Keyes, 2005). Adolescents experienced psychological well-being as characterised by purposeful living and meaning; positive relationships; being a role-model; self-regard; constructive coping; positive emotions and gratitude. Lower mental health was experienced as characterized by meaninglessness, impaired relationships, identification with dysfunctional outsiders, self-incompetence, dysfunctional behaviours, negative emotions and helplessness. The youth distinguished between experiences of well-being and the absence thereof. Interventions are indicated to enhance psycho-social well-being in the adolescents.

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