Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 26, Issue 9, pp 2349–2362 | Cite as

Measuring Mental Wellbeing Among Adolescents: A Systematic Review of Instruments

  • Theda RoseEmail author
  • Sean Joe
  • Ashlie Williams
  • Ryan Harris
  • Gail Betz
  • Sarah Stewart-Brown
Original Paper


Globally, promoting mental wellbeing among adolescents is of great public health and social significance. However, less is known about advances in measures of mental wellbeing, relevant for use in mental health interventions, which are age-appropriate and acceptable for use among adolescents. Comprehensive assessment includes multiple aspects of mental wellbeing, as well as positive indicators of feeling and functioning. This review used systematic review methods, guided by PRISMA, to identify and assess comprehensive instruments in terms of their content, conceptual relevance for youth, and responsiveness to change. Ryan and Deci’s framework for mental wellbeing, grounded in hedonic and eudaimonic perspectives, was applied to assess the preponderance of feeling and functioning items for each instrument. The review identified 11 instruments that fit specified inclusion criteria. Only four of the scales were developed for adolescents. Though the scales varied in their preponderance of items, all scales encompassed at least one indicator of both feeling and functioning. Findings emphasize the importance of validating adult-developed instruments for youth and ensuring the instrument’s cultural and conceptual relevance within groups of adolescents. As promoting mental wellbeing becomes critical to the field of practice, practitioners need access to relevant and acceptable measures.


Mental wellbeing Adolescents Instruments Assessment 



We would like to acknowledge Amaranda Sakamoto, MSW for her contributions to the early stages of the systematic review.

Author Contributions

T.R. designed the review, collaborated with librarians, conducted the review, and wrote the review. S.J. collaborated with the design of the review and provided ongoing feedback and edits on the manuscript. A.W. helped conduct the review, wrote parts of background and method sections, and edited the final manuscript. R.H. developed search strategies in collaboration with lead author, conducted literature searches, and wrote part of method section. G.B. developed search strategies in collaboration with lead author and conducted literature searches. S.S.B. collaborated with the design of the review, wrote parts of background and discussion sections, helped finalize the results section, and provided ongoing feedback and edits on the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

This research did not involve human participants or animals, as it was a systematic review of existing literature.

Informed Consent

Because this research did not involve human participants, no informed consent was required.

Supplementary material

10826_2017_754_MOESM1_ESM.docx (30 kb)
Supplementary Information


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WorkUniversity of MarylandBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.George Warren Brown School of Social WorkWashington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA
  3. 3.Health Sciences and Human Services LibraryUniversity of MarylandBaltimoreUSA
  4. 4.Oregon Health & Science University LibraryOregon Health & Science UniversityPortlandUSA
  5. 5.Warwick Medical SchoolUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK

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