Public health research and policy in sub-Saharan Africa are generally disease-oriented, with the focus being largely confined within the biological determinants of health. So far, little attention has been given to developing a more health-oriented approach by emphasising the psychosocial dimensions of health, especially among the younger population. To this regard, we conducted the present study to assess the prevalence and sociocultural correlates of perceived happiness, health, and life satisfaction among the adolescent and young (15–24 years) population in Malawi. We analysed cross-sectional data on 12,610 men and women based on a Malawi multiple indicator cluster survey conducted in 2013–2014. Data were analysed using descriptive and multivariable regression methods. According to the findings, more than 80% of the men and women reported being satisfied about happiness, health, and life. Multivariate analysis showed an inverse relationship between being currently or formerly married and perceived happiness. Ethnic disparities in perceived health and happiness were more pronounced in men, whereas that of life satisfaction was more pronounced in women. Living in households of the highest wealth quintile was positively associated with health and life satisfaction, but not with happiness. These findings highlight the need for prioritising the psychosocial needs of the adolescent and youth populations in designing health and social policy in Malawi. The findings need to be interpreted in light of the factors specific to the sociocultural environment in Malawi.
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