Teenagers who smoke, drink alcohol and eat junk food are significantly more likely to be unhappy than their clean-living counterparts, a study has found.
In the study, about 5,000 children were questioned on their appearance, family, friends, school and life as a whole, and had their happiness levels rated.
Researchers discovered that those who never drank alcohol were between four and six times more likely to have higher levels of happiness than those who did, while those who shunned cigarettes were about five times more likely to have high happiness scores than young smokers.
The authors of the study, based at the Institute for Social and Economic Research at Essex University, used data from Understanding Society, a long-term study of 40,000 UK households, to analyse the home life and health-related behaviour of about 5,000 ten- to 15-year-olds.
Their results found that unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking alcohol and not taking exercise were closely linked to substantially lower happiness scores, even when factors such as family income and parents’ education were taken into account.