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Psychometric evaluation of the Mental Health Continuum-Short Form (MHC-SF) in Chinese adolescents - a methodological study
Medical Management Centre, Karolinska Institutet.
Medical Management Centre, Karolinska Institutet.
Weifang Medical University.
Weifang Medical University.
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2015 (English)In: Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, ISSN 1477-7525, E-ISSN 1477-7525, Vol. 13, no 1, 1-9 p., 198Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


In epidemiological surveillance of mental health there is good reason to also include scales that measure the presence of well-being rather than merely symptoms of ill health. The Mental Health Continuum-Short Form (MHC-SF) is a self-reported scale to measure emotional, psychological and social well-being and conduct categorical diagnosis of positive mental health. This particular instrument includes the three core components of the World Health Organization’s definition of mental health and had previously not been psychometrically evaluated on adolescents in China.


In total 5,399 students (51.1 % female) from schools in the urban areas of Weifang in China were included in the study (mean age = 15.13, SD = 1.56). Participants completed a comprehensive questionnaire with several scales, among them the MHC-SF. Statistical analyses to evaluate reliability, structural validity, measurement invariance, presence of floor and ceiling effects and to some extent external validity of the MHC-SF were carried out.


The Cronbach’s α coefficients for sub-scales as well as the total scale were all above 0.80 indicating good reliability. Confirmative factor analysis confirmed the three-dimensional structure of the Chinese version of MHC-SF and supported the configural and metric invariance across gender and age. Noteworthy ceiling effects were observed for single items and sub-scales although not for the total scale. More importantly, observed floor effects were negligible. The stronger correlation found between MHC-SF and Minneapolis-Manchester Quality of Life Instrument (as measure of positive mental health) than between MHC-SF and Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale (as measure of mental illness and distress) yielded support for external validity.


In conclusion, the main findings of this study are in line with studies from other countries that evaluated the psychometric properties of the MHC-SF and show that this instrument, that includes the three core components of the WHO definition of mental health, is useful in assessing positive adolescent mental health also in China.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BioMed Central, 2015. Vol. 13, no 1, 1-9 p., 198
Keyword [en]
Mental Health Continuum-Short Form, Chinese adolescents, Reliability, Validity
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-28673DOI: 10.1186/s12955-015-0394-2ISI: 000366166700002PubMedID: 26651829ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84949806130OAI: diva2:884956
Available from: 2015-12-17 Created: 2015-12-17 Last updated: 2016-01-04Bibliographically approved

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