Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 10, pp 3176–3184 | Cite as

Measurement Invariance of the Adolescent Quality of Life-Mental Health Scale (AQOL-MHS) across Gender, Age and Treatment Context

  • Ligia M. ChavezEmail author
  • Patrick E. Shrout
  • Pedro García
  • Erick Forno
  • Juan C. Celedón
Original Paper


The Adolescent Quality of Life-Mental Health Scale (AQOL-MHS) was designed to measure quality of life in clinical samples of Latino adolescents aged 12–18 years, but has also been used in community samples. The original measure included three factors: Emotional Regulation (ER), Self-Concept (SC) and Social Context (SoC). The goals of this study are to replicate the factor structure using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), shorten the instrument and test the degree of measurement invariance across gender, age, and type of sample. Participants for the analyses (N = 354) came from two populations in the San Juan Metropolitan Area: (1) adolescents from randomly selected households, using a multi-stage probability sampling design (n = 295), and (2) adolescents receiving treatment at mental health clinics (n = 59). We first carried out a conceptual item analysis for item reduction purposes and then assessed dimensional, configural, metric and scalar invariance for each factor using the Mplus software system. The original 3-factor structure was replicated with comparable model fit in each treatment context. Metric invariance was attained for all three scales across groups. Either full or partial scalar invariance was also observed with DIF in a total of 6 items. Invariance testing supports the use of the abridged 21 item version of the AQOL-MHS to compare diverse individuals with little bias using observed scores, but for refined estimates the ideal scoring will be from a latent variable model.


Quality of life Measurement invariance Adolescent Mental health 



This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health research award #HD060888 and #GM109326, and was partly supported by grants HL079966 and HL117191 from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), and by The Heinz Endowments. The content of this article is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Author Contributions

L.C.: designed and executed the study, conducted data analysis, and wrote the manuscript. P.S.: collaborated in conceptualization and study design, data analyses and writing of the manuscript. P.G.: conducted data management and data analysis. E.F. and J.C.C.: participated in study design, data management, and drafting the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

The University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus IRB approved this study. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Behavioral Sciences Research Institute, Medical Sciences CampusUniversity of Puerto RicoSan JuanUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyNew York UniversityNew York CityUSA
  3. 3.Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMCUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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