Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 443–455 | Cite as

The Measurement of Adolescent Psychological Health: One or Two Dimensions?

  • Ross B. Wilkinson
  • Wendy A. Walford


Psychological health in adult populations has been conceptualized as being comprised of two distinct, though related, dimensions: well-being and distress. Research into adolescent psychological health, however, has been dominated by a single factor approach with well-being and distress defining opposite ends of this continuum. Measures of psychological health were administered to 345 late adolescents. A series of confirmatory factor analyses supported an oblique two-factor model of psychological health with measures of anxiety and negative affect defining a distress construct and measures of positive affect, satisfaction with life, and happiness defining a well-being construct. A measure of depression loaded on both well-being and distress. It is concluded that although these two dimensions are highly correlated, they are distinguishable in adolescent samples. It is suggested that to avoid confusion in the literature authors should take more care in labeling the aspects of psychological health that they wish to assess.


Psychological Health Negative Affect Adult Population Positive Affect Confirmatory Factor Analysis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ross B. Wilkinson
    • 1
  • Wendy A. Walford
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of PsychologyThe Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.The Australian National UniversityAustralia

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