Developmental dynamics between young adults’ life satisfaction and engagement with studies and work

Katja Upadyaya, Katariina Salmela-Aro


The present five-wave longitudinal study investigated the cross-lagged associations between young adults’ life satisfaction and study/work engagement over the transition from post-comprehensive studies to higher education or work during the second and third decades of life. Gender, educational track, academic performance and family socioeconomic status were also examined. The study is part of the longitudinal Finnish Educational Transitions (FinEdu) study, and used data from secondary education onwards, following 821 participants from age 17 to 25. The developmental dynamics showed that, in particular, young adults’ life satisfaction predicted their study/work engagement both during their post-comprehensive education and after the transition to higher education or work. Moreover, study/work engagement positively predicted young adults’ life satisfaction during their third decade of life. In addition, high initial life satisfaction was more typical among males. However, no differences related to gender or academic track were observed in the developmental dynamics of life satisfaction and study/work engagement. These results suggested that general wellbeing spills over to study/work domain-specific characteristics of wellbeing and promotes positive personal development and adjustment to study/work transitions during the third decade of life.


Life Satisfaction; Study/Work Engagement; Study/Work Transition; Young Adults; Longitudinal Studies

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