Thankful for what you have? It could be the key to being a happy, well-adjusted teen, new research suggests.

A study presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association shows that grateful teens are also more likely to be happy, hopeful and well-behaved at school.

"More gratitude may be precisely what our society needs to raise a generation that is ready to make a difference in the world," study researcher Giacomo Bono, Ph.D., a psychology professor at California State University, said in a statement.

"Gratitude" in a teen was defined as having a positive outlook on his or her life. The researchers conducted the study on 700 kids ages 10 to 14 over four years.

At the end of the four-year period, the most grateful teens had a 15 percent increase in feeling like they had a meaning for life, as well as a 15 percent increase in life satisfaction. They experienced a 17 percent boost in happiness and hopefulness, as well as a 15 percent decrease in feeling symptoms of depression, researchers found.

Plus, those who experienced the greatest increase in gratefulness over the four-year period also experienced the greatest reductions in bad behaviors like cheating, drug and alcohol use and detention.

The finding backs up a previous one conducted by researchers at Hofstra University, who found that grateful teens are also more likely to have higher grades, less envy and more friends than their less grateful peers, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"One of the best cures for materialism is to make somebody grateful for what they have," study researcher Jeffrey J. Froh told the Wall Street Journal.