Adolescents who are happy are less likely to get involved with crime or do drugs, according to the findings of researchers from the University of California, Davis. The study analyzed data from 15,000 seventh- to ninth-graders from the 1995 and 1996 National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health during 1995 and 1996.

The researchers also found that changes in emotions over time can affect adolescents’ involvement in crime and drugs. Youths who had decreased levels of happiness over the course of a year also had an increased likelihood of trying drugs. Adolescents with minor, nonclinical depression also had higher chances of engaging in these activities, according to a UC Davis press release.

“Our results suggest that the emphasis placed on happiness and well-being by positive psychologists and others is warranted,” said researcher Bill McCarthy. “In addition to their other benefits, programs and policies that increase childhood and adolescent happiness may have a notable effect on deterring nonviolent crime and drug use.”