Validation of the mental health continuum-short form: The bifactor model of emotional, social, and psychological well-being

di | 05/18/2022

by Zack Zhishen Yeo, Lidia Suárez

The Mental Health Continuum-Short Form (MHC-SF) is aimed at measuring the three dimensions of mental health; emotional, social, and psychological well-being. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the psychometric properties of the MHC-SF within the context of Singapore and Australia. A total of 299 Singaporeans or permanent residents (59.2% female; mean age = 24.26, SD = 6.13) and 258 Australians or permanent residents (69% female; mean age = 23.95, SD = 8.66) completed the study. Confirmatory factor analyses were used to assess the structural validity of the MHC-SF. Internal consistency reliability was assessed via the Cronbach’s α and MacDonald’s ω reliability coefficients. Concurrent validity was examined against the World Health Organisation-Five Well-Being Index, discriminant validity using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and criterion validity using a self-rated question of “Please rate your averaged level of mental health over the past month”, all via Pearson’s correlations. A bifactor model of the MHC-SF, where each item loaded on a general factor and simultaneously on their respective uncorrelated group factors, yielded the best fit to the data across both samples. Further investigations demonstrated that the general well-being factor accounted for majority of variances of the MHC-SF. Internal consistency reliability, concurrent validity, discriminant validity, and criterion validity were all demonstrated. In conclusion, the current study provided support for the bifactor model of MHC-SF and demonstrated evidence of good psychometrics across both samples. The results highlighted the unidimensionality of the measure, suggesting that it is more informative to interpret the aggregated score than scores of independent factors standalone.

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