Student well-being has mostly been studied as an individual phenomenon with little research investigating how the well-being of one's classmates could influence a student's well-being. The aim of the current study was to examine how the aggregate well-being of students who comprise a class could predict students' subsequent well-being (Time 2 well-being) after controlling for the effects of prior well-being (Time 1 well-being) as well as key demographic variables such as gender and age. Two studies among Filipino secondary school students were conducted. In Study 1, 788 students from 21 classes participated; in Study 2, 404 students from 10 classes participated. For Study 1, questionnaires assessing students' life satisfaction, positive affect and negative affect were administered twice seven months apart. For Study 2, the well-being questionnaires were administered twice, three months apart. Hierarchical linear modeling was used with level 1 (Time 1 individual well-being, gender, and age) and level 2 (class well-being) predictors. Results across the two studies provided converging lines of evidence: students who were in classes with higher levels of life satisfaction and positive affect were also more likely to have higher life satisfaction and positive affect at Time 2. The study indicated that the well-being of a student partly depends on the well-being of their classmates providing evidence for the social contagion of well-being in the classroom context. Copyright © 2017 Society for the Study of School Psychology.
CitationKing, R. B., & Datu, J. A. (2017). Happy classes make happy students: Classmates' well-being predicts individual student well-being. Journal of School Psychology, 65, 116-128.
- Social contagion
- Life satisfaction
- Positive affect
- Negative affect