Preliminary Development of the Positive Experiences at School Scale for Elementary School Children
This study reports on the preliminary development of the Positive Experiences at School Scale (PEASS), which was developed to measure a new construct, student covitality—conceptualized as the synergistic experience of well-being that results from the interactions of multiple school-grounded positive traits in youth. The PEASS is a brief, self-report, developmentally-appropriate assessment with subscales measuring four school-anchored positive-psychological traits that are linked with youth well-being and school engagement: gratitude, zest, optimism, and persistence. The composite score of the four PEASS subscales was hypothesized to represent student covitality. Construct validity was examined using confirmatory factor analyses, invariance analysis, and latent means analysis. Factor analysis results supported four first-order PEASS subscales; in addition, multigroup invariance testing showed that a measurement model including the second-order covitality latent trait was a good fit for both males, RMSEA = .040, 90 % CI [.033, .046], and females, RMSEA = .053, 90 % CI [.047, .059], providing support for student covitality as a parsimonious construct representing youths’ global positive experiences at school. Additional concurrent validity analyses were conducted by examining the association between student covitality and other behavioral and psychological variables (i.e., feelings of school safety, bullying experiences, and responses to a school-anchored Prosocial Behavior scale and the Psychological Sense of School Membership scale). Implications for theory, practice, and future research are discussed.
KeywordsCovitality Positive psychology School psychology Gratitude Zest Optimism Persistence Well-being
- Baker, J. A., & Maupin, A. N. (2009). School satisfaction and children’s positive school adjustment. In R. Gilman, E. S. Huebner, & M. J. Furlong (Eds.), Handbook of positive psychology in schools (pp. 189–196). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Benson, P. L., & Scales, P. C. (2009). Positive youth development and the prevention of youth aggression and violence. European Journal of Developmental Science, 3, 218–234. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/757464808?accountid=14522.Google Scholar
- Bentler, P. M. (2006). EQS 6 structural equations program manual. Encino, CA: Multivariate Software.Google Scholar
- Boman, P., Furlong, M. J., Shocet, I., Lilles, E., & Jones, C. (2009). Optimism and the school context. In R. Gilman, E. S. Huebner, & M. J. Furlong (Eds.), Handbook of positive psychology in schools (pp. 51–64). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
- California Department of Education (2012). California healthy kids survey: Elementary school survey. Retrieved from http://chks.wested.org/resources/chks-elem-1213.pdf.
- Diener, E. (2009). Positive psychology: Past, present, and future. In S. J. Lopez & C. R. Synder (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of positive psychology (2nd ed., pp. 7–11). New York, NY: Oxford.Google Scholar
- Emmons, R. A. (2007). Thanks! How the new science of gratitude can make you happier. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
- Furlong, M. J., Froh, J. J., Muller, M. E., & Gonzalez, V. (2013). The role of gratitude in fostering school bonding. In D. J. Shernoff & J. Bempechat (Eds.), National Society for the Study of Education yearbook: Engaging youth in schools: Empirically-based model to guide future innovations. New York, NY: Teachers College Record.Google Scholar
- Gilman, R., Huebner, E. S., & Furlong, M. J. (Eds.). (2009). Handbook of positive psychology in schools. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Goodenow, C. (1993). The psychological sense of school membership among adolescents: Scale development and educational correlates. Psychology in the Schools, 30, 79–90. doi:10.1002/1520-6807(199301)30:1<79::AID-PITS2310300113>3.0.CO;2-X.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Griffiths, A. J., Sharkey, J. D., & Furlong, M. J. (2009). Student engagement and positive school adaptation. In R. Gilman, E. S. Huebner, & M. J. Furlong (Eds.), Handbook of positive psychology in schools (pp. 197–212). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Huebner, E. S., Gilman, R., Reschly, A. L., & Hall, R. (2009). Positive schools. In S. J. Lopez & C. R. Synder (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of positive psychology (2nd ed., pp. 561–568). New York, NY: Oxford.Google Scholar
- Jimerson, S. R., Sharkey, J. D., Nyborg, V., & Furlong, M. J. (2004). Strength-based assessment and school psychology: a summary and synthesis. The California School Psychologist, 9, 9–19.Google Scholar
- Jones, C. N., You, S., Furlong, M. J. (2012). A preliminary examination of covitality as integrated well-being in college students. Social Indicators Research. Advanced online publication. doi:10.1007/s11205-012-0017-9.
- Kirschman, K. J. B., Johnson, R. J., Bender, J. A., & Roberts, M. C. (2009). Positive psychology for children and adolescents: Development, prevention, and promotion. In S. J. Lopez & C. R. Snyder (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of positive psychology (2nd ed., pp. 133–148). New York, NY: Oxford.Google Scholar
- Lopez, S. J., & Snyder, C. R. (Eds.). (2009). The Oxford handbook of positive psychology (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford.Google Scholar
- Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2004). Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
- Schreiner, L. A., Hulme, E., Hetzel, R., & Lopez, S. J. (2009). Positive psychology on campus. In S. J. Lopez & C. R. Snyder (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of positive psychology (2nd ed., pp. 569–577). New York, NY: Oxford.Google Scholar
- Seligman, M. E. P. (2006). Learned optimism: How to change your mind and your life. New York, NY: Vintage.Google Scholar
- Steiger, J. H., & Lind, A. (1980). Statistically based tests for the number of common factors. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Psychometric Society, Iowa City, IA.Google Scholar
- Suldo, S., Thalji, A., & Ferron, J. (2011). Longitudinal academic outcomes predicted by early adolescents’ subjective well-being, psychopathology, and mental health status yielded from a dual factor model. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 6, 17–30. doi:10.1080/17439760.2010.536774.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Swearer, S.M. (2001). Bully survey. Unpublished survey. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Retrieved from http://www.targetbully.com/Bully_Survey.php.
- Tough, P. (2012). How children succeed: Grit, curiosity, and the hidden power of character. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.Google Scholar