Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Kathy L. Bradley-Klug, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Emily J. Shaffer-Hudkins, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Shannon M. Suldo, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert F. Dedrick, Ph.D.


health psychology, positive psychology, wellness, physical health


In positive psychology, a greater emphasis is placed on the presence of indicators of both physical and mental health. This study examined the relationship between 12 health-promoting behaviors and subjective well-being (SWB; e.g., happiness) in a sample of 450 high school aged youth from five high schools in two states. Participants reported on their dietary habits, physical activity, abstinence from tobacco products, abstinence from alcohol, and sleep hygiene (i.e., 8 unique components) as well as a multidimensional assessment of SWB (i.e., life satisfaction, positive affect, and negative affect). It was hypothesized that increased engagement in each of the health-promoting behaviors would be associated with higher levels of SWB. Based on identified differences in previous studies, demographic factors also were taken into consideration. Specifically, race, gender, and socioeconomic status were included in all analyses to further distinguish any main and moderating effects in relation to SWB and each health-promoting behavior. Findings demonstrated that seven of the 12 health-promoting behaviors examined were significantly correlated with SWB. A sizeable portion of the variance in SWB (39.80%) was accounted for by the linear combination of the 12 health-promoting behaviors. Increased physical activity, as well as two components of sleep hygiene (i.e., cognitive/emotional factors, bedtime routine) were unique predictors of the variance in SWB. None of the interactions with respect to race, gender, or SES and the health-promoting behaviors of interest were significant predictors of SWB, indicating that no moderating effects were identified in this study. Several unique main effects were identified for various health-promoting behaviors with respect to race and gender. However, no differences were unveiled with respect to SES. These findings bring attention to the necessity to educate adolescents on the importance of daily physical activity, attention to sleep hygiene, and their links to mental wellness. Furthermore, these results provide a greater understanding of healthy profiles and their associations with positive mental health and demographic differences that exists. Future research should incorporate additional methods for investigating health-promotion, such as the utilization of sleep actigraphy monitors or qualitative interviews of adolescents and expanding upon the cross-sectional design of this study.