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Heterogeneity Among Moderate Mental Health Students on the Mental Health Continuum-Short Form (MHC-SF)


Measures of positive well-being are needed to support the shift away from a deficit-based approach to mental health. This study examined one measure, the Mental Health Continuum-Short Form (MHC-SF), as a measure of positive well-being used in school-based mental health monitoring efforts. This study used latent profile analysis (LPA) to explore the mental health classifications of 10,880 California high school students' responses to MHC-SF emotional, psychological, and social well-being items. Five latent mental wellness profiles emerged, including two ordered profiles (i.e., High Well-Being and Low Well-Being) and three profiles spanning the two ordered profiles. The High Well-Being profile had the most favorable psychological adjustment, and the three moderate well-being range profiles had differentiated functioning. Informing the utility of the MHC-SF, this study also compared the MHC-SF categorical diagnostic criteria with the LPA's empirical classification approach and found the two classification approaches to be congruent. The findings provide an impetus for educators to attend to students in moderate well-being ranges and emphasize promoting positive mental well-being as an essential component of school-based mental health services.

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