5) Teen Happiness

Perhaps the most definitive correlation between novelty and school was conducted through a happiness study in children sixth through twelfth grade. The students wore special wristwatches that sent random signals between 7:30 am to 10:30 pm for one week. It encompassed twelve communities, thirty-three different schools, and eight hundred participants. Upon receiving the signal, the students completed a questionnaire.

Are you surprised by the results? The lowest level of happiness was when students were in school and the highest level occurred when they were out of school conversing or playing with friends particularly on weekends but dipped by Sunday afternoon in anticipation of the coming school week, when they would lose control of their time management and activity schedule. The authors concluded with what I consider the most significant quote in this book: 

Teenagers ascribe happiness to their moods when they are in situations of relative freedom, in the company of age-mates, able to engage in flow activities that stretch their skills and makes them feel alive and proud.

Csikszentmihalyi, M., Hunter, J., (2003). Happiness in Everyday Life: The Uses of Experience Sampling, Journal of Clinical Psychology, 185-199

photo: Nazareth College staticflickr