The Mental Health Continuum – Short form (MHC-SF) is a self-report measure that has been increasingly used to monitor mental well-being at the population level. The aim of this study was to evaluate, for the first time, the psychometric properties of the MHC-SF in a Swedish population, more specifically adolescents.
First, the evaluation was performed by examining face validity and test–retest reliability obtained in a pre-study (n = 93). Then using data from the Survey of Adolescent Life in Vestmanland 2020 (n = 3880; participation rate = 71%; females = 51%; mean age = 16.23 years), we performed confirmatory factor analysis on different factor structures based on theory and previous research. Model-based estimates were calculated for assessing the internal reliability of the factor structure with the best fit. Convergent validity was assessed by bivariate as well as model-based correlations, and test–retest reliability was evaluated by intra-class correlation coefficients.
This study on Swedish adolescents found that the MHC-SF is essentially unidimensional and best described with a bifactor model consisting of a dominant general well-being factor and three specific group factors of emotional, social and psychological well-being. Its overall reliability and the reliability of the general well-being factor were good to excellent, while the reliability of its subscales (specific group factor) was poor, and thus should not be used alone. Test–retest reliability of the total scale was good, and convergent validity was supported by strong to very strong correlations with the Short Warwick–Edinburg Mental Well-being Scale.
In conclusion, we consider the Swedish MHC-SF to be a psychometrically sound instrument for monitoring overall mental well-being in Swedish adolescents.