Preliminary Development of the Positive Experiences at School Scale for Elementary School Children

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgments

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

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Correspondence to Sukkyung You.

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Additional information about the Positive Experiences at School Scale is posted at http://www.michaelfurlong.info/research/covitality.html

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Furlong, M.J., You, S., Renshaw, T.L. et al. Preliminary Development of the Positive Experiences at School Scale for Elementary School Children. Child Ind Res 6, 753–775 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12187-013-9193-7

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Keywords

  • Covitality
  • Positive psychology
  • School psychology
  • Gratitude
  • Zest
  • Optimism
  • Persistence
  • Well-being