The aim of this study was to examine at the structure and psychometric features of data collected for teenagers using the Mental Health Continuum-Short Form version (30) in Iranian adolescences, its internal consistency and reliability, its invariance across gender, and plausibility of the two continua model proposing that mental health and illness are distinct yet related constructs. The Mental Health Continuum, or MHC, provides a clinical approach towards the ongoing evaluation and categorical identification of positive mental health states (30,17). The 14-item short form of the MHC scale is one of the most extensively used measures to assess well-being around the world (21). As a result, the primary goal of this research would have been to verify the MHC–SF in an Iranian adolescent population. The present results confirm that the MHC-SF is a valid and reliable tool that can be taken advantage of evaluating the health of Iranian adolescents.
The results of study prove that the multidimensional structure of well-being (emotional, social and psychological). The three-factor model showed an acceptable goodness-of-fit index and was relatively superior to the one- and two-factor models. These findings are consistent with a growing body of research suggesting that the MHCSF measures three specific factors that correspond to major components of overall well-being and subscales of emotional, social, and psychological well-being (27, 29, 33, 43-45).
MHCSF emotional and psychometric scales in this population displayed high internal consistency and reliability, as assessed by Cronbach's alpha. The internal consistency and reliability coefficients of the social well-being subscale were acceptable, but low compared to the other subscales. Similar results have been detected in preceding studies (27,29,30,46). All Cronbach alphas were superior to those seen in studies in South Africa, the Netherlands and Italy (29,30,46).
Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) was calculated to determine the factor structure of MHC-SF. A second-order CFA was performed to test whether these three factors reveal the same dimension. The CFA provides a fairly good level of support for the MHC-SF tripartite structure (29,47). Unique cross-culture study of MHC-SF factor structure is Joshanloo et al.’s (47) study using CFA, displaying that the three-dimensional model of the MHC-SF corresponded to the data well in Iran, South Africa, and the Netherlands. The overall Iranian MHC-SF and the three sub-dimensions were more internally consistent than other studies. In addition, our results confirmed strong invariance of the three MHC-SF elements by gender. These results suggest that MHC-SF is similarly measured in males and females using a three-factor model, allowing comparisons between genders.
The convergent validity of the MHCSF was good in the present study, implying that the MHC-SF is a valid instrument. The Pearson Correlation Coefficient results for convergent and divergent validity showed the relationship between the MHC-SF-A subscales for assessing the internal homogeneity of the test. Between anxiety and depression, depression covered a broader conceptualization of well-being. This means that depression on a health-affirming measure, for example, is most strongly correlated with the total score of the MHC-SF, a measure of general well-being. According to Keyes’ conceptualization (16), MHC-SF-A is expected to be negatively related to anxiety and depression. Previous studies have also demonstrated the convergent validity of the emotional, social, and psychological aspects of mental well-being (18,46).
In addition to convergent validity, the MHC–SF was found to have divergent and discriminant validity in the current investigation. Mental illness and mental health, according to the two-continua concept, are connected but separate dimensions. The current study demonstrates that mental health measures are connected to, but separate from, mental illness measures. This obviously means that the lack of mental illness does not always imply the existence of mental health, requiring the development of a mental health assessment tool.
Generally, the MHC-SF is a beneficial, short self-report questionnaire for evaluating of mental health. Consequently, Research helps fill knowledge gaps about the authenticity and usefulness of the MHC-SF in national cultures around the world for positive mental health measures.
There are some limitations that need to be taken into account in this study. Weak correlations are statistically significant due to the large sample size. As a result, we applied an alpha of .001 instead of the common .05 as a margin of significance in the validation analyses. Due to the extremely limiting assumptions of the CFA approach and resulting inflation of the interrelationships, the future studies are capable of applying Exploratory Structural Equation Modeling (ESEM) to illustrate the factor structure of multidimensional constructs such as mental well-being. What is more, future research will be able to discover the validity of the Iranian MHC–SF, and the three categorizations for positive mental health and people in different sorting.
According to results, there are some vital implications for mental health policy and care. Recently, mental health care concentrates mostly on psychopathology in either diagnostics or treatment. Nevertheless, with mental health and mental illness being two detached indices of mental health, it may be useful to concentrates also on boosting of positive mental health. It is hoped that this study will cover the path for more knowledgeable and inclusive conceptualization and assessment of mental well-being in different age groups.