Applied Research in Quality of Life

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 997–1015 | Cite as

Further Validation of the Social and Emotional Health Survey for High School Students

  • Sukkyung You
  • Michael J. Furlong
  • Erin Dowdy
  • Tyler L. Renshaw
  • Douglas C. Smith
  • Meagan D. O’Malley


The Social Emotional Health Survey (SEHS) was developed with the aim of assessing core cognitive dispositions associated with adolescents’ positive psychosocial development. Using a new sample, the present study sought to extend previous SEHS research by coadministering it with the Behavioral Emotional Screening System (BESS). The sample included 2,240 students in Grades 9-12 from two comprehensive high schools located in a major west coast USA city. A majority of the students were of Latino/a heritage (72 %) and had experienced disadvantaged economic circumstances (80 % at school 1 and 68 % at school 2). Confirmatory factor analyses supported the original SEHS factor structure composed of the first-order constructs of belief-in-self, belief-in-others, emotional competence, and engaged living, which parsimoniously mapped on to a second-order “covitality” factor. Complete factorial invariance was found across four groups formed by crossing gender (male, female) and age (ages 13–15, ages 16–18). Latent means analysis found several small to moderate effects size differences, primarily for the belief-in-self and belief-in-others first-order latent traits. A SEM analysis found that the SEHS measurement model, including covitality was a significant negative predictor of psychological distress as measured by the BESS and was positively associated with students’ end-of-semester grade point average. The discussion focuses on implications for conceptualizing the core psychological components of adolescents’ positive quality of life and how schools can use the SEHS as part of a whole-school procedure to screen for students’ complete mental health.


Social Emotional Health Survey Covitality Belief-in-self Belief-in-others Emotional competence Engaged living School Adolescent Complete mental health Validity Confirmatory factor analysis Latent means analysis Grade point average 



This work was partially supported by the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies Research Fund granted to Sukkyung You.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sukkyung You
    • 1
  • Michael J. Furlong
    • 2
  • Erin Dowdy
    • 2
  • Tyler L. Renshaw
    • 3
  • Douglas C. Smith
    • 4
  • Meagan D. O’Malley
    • 5
  1. 1.College of EducationHankuk University of Foreign StudiesSeoulKorea
  2. 2.Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School PsychologyUniversity of California Santa BarbaraSanta BarbaraUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologySouthern Oregon UniversityAshlandUSA
  5. 5.WestEdLos AlamitosUSA

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