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Adaptability Noticed In Young People Linked To Higher Self-Esteem

Update Date: Oct 31, 2013 02:08 PM EDT

Not all young adults adapt to change easily. According to a new study, those who are adaptable are more likely to have a higher self-esteem.

"There is so much focus on resilience - looking at young people's ability to deal with adversity," Professor Andrew Martin from the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney, said in a news release. "But there is hardly any research on how young people deal with change and uncertainty."

For the study, researchers analyzed 969 student performances at school from nine Australian high schools for the span of two years.

Researchers tested students on their level of adaptability and resilience in different academic situations, for example, class participation, motivation as well as personal characteristics such as self-esteem and happiness with life.

With the study, Martin found that the ability to conform to changing surroundings was an essential part for the well-being of young adults. 

Researchers also found that adaptable students reported to be more satisfied with life and feel a sense of purpose in their life.

"One guaranteed feature of young people's lives into the future is that the world will constantly change on them," said Martin. "Young people who can adapt to this change are likely to be most effective at coping and seizing tomorrow's opportunities."

According to Martin, those young people who can adapt are able to change their thinking, behavior and emotion when dealing with an uncertain event in their life. This finding suggests that those who have difficulty adjusting to change can be helped through educational purposes. 

"In identifying the components of adaptability and its effects, we are in a good position to help young people deal with their lives," said Martin. "Young people can be taught how to think about things differently, how to modify their behaviour, and how to adjust their emotions."

He added, "When we help them do these things, we build their adaptability, and their future."

The findings are published in the Journal of Educational Psychology.

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