Validation of the mental health continuum: Short form among Canadian Armed Forces personnel. Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Background

    Compared to the general Canadian population, military members exhibit a higher prevalence of depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder. However, there is a paucity of research investigating the extent to which military members experience positive mental health. Validation of positive mental health measures, including the Mental Health Continuum - Short Form (MHC-SF), is necessary to determine whether well-being can be assessed in a valid and reliable manner among Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) military members. The purpose of this research was to assess the internal consistency reliability, convergent validity, factor structure, and measurement invariance of the MHC-SF among CAF Regular Force and Reserve Force military members.

    Data and methods

    Data were drawn from the nationally representative 2013 Canadian Forces Mental Health Survey (CFMHS) conducted by Statistics Canada. A random sample of 8,200 CAF military personnel completed the CFMHS, representing 64,400 Regular Force and 4,460 Reserve Force CAF personnel.

    Results

    As expected, all three MHC-SF subscales (psychological, social, and emotional well-being) correlated positively with life satisfaction, self-rated mental health, sense of belonging, and social support, and correlated negatively with psychological distress and disability due to health conditions. Internal consistency was high. Confirmatory factor analysis supported the three-factor structure of the MHC-SF, and measurement invariance was satisfied.

    Interpretation

    Findings provided support for the reliability, convergent validity, factorial validity, and measurement invariance of the MHC-SF among both Regular Force and Reserve Force military samples. Therefore, researchers and clinicians can reliably implement the MHC-SF as a tool to assess, interpret, and predict military members' psychological, social, and emotional well-being.

publication date

  • May 2022