Feeling positive towards time: How time attitude profiles are related to mental health in adolescents
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Time attitudes refer to the way individuals feel about their past, present, and future and have been associated with adolescent-specific developmental, social, and emotional changes. The dual-factor model of mental health proposes that optimal functioning entails high levels of emotional, social, and psychological well-being, as well as low levels of psychopathology. Since previous research has suggested that time attitudes can assist in understanding the development of adolescents, the primary objective of this study was to examine the relationship between time attitudes and mental health according to the dual-factor model. Methods: A total of 317 Spanish high school students aged between 14 and 16 years (45.1% females) participated in the study. Time attitudes were assessed with the Adolescent and Adult Time Inventory-Time Attitudes Scale, and profiles were identified through person-centered analysis. Data were also gathered on well-being and psychological distress measures, which were analyzed as distal outcomes. Results: Four time attitude profiles were identified - negatives, positives, past negatives, and present/future negatives. Adolescents belonging to the positive profile reported higher scores on well-being and lower scores on psychological distress. The psychological well-being and depression constructs had higher (positive and negative, respectively) scores across all profiles. These results suggested an association between time attitude profiles and mental health according to the dual-factor model. Conclusions: We suggest that positive psychology interventions may nudge adolescents towards a more positive appraisal of the past, present, and future and promote their mental health and positive development. Further practical implications are discussed.