Graduation Year

2010

Document Type

Ed. Specalist

Degree

Ed.S.

Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Shannon M.Suldo, Ph.D.

Keywords

Psychopathology, Subjective well-being, Academic achievement, Longitudinal, Positive psychology

Abstract

A dual-factor model of mental health includes indicators of wellness (i.e., subjective well-being) and psychopathology (i.e., internalizing and externalizing behavior problems) in defining psychological wellness. The present empirical investigation examined the utility of SWB and psychopathology examined separately and together (as in a dual-factor model of mental health) in predicting students' subsequent academic achievement and in-school behavior. Specifically, it determined if SWB, psychopathology, and membership in a specific mental health group yielded by the dual-factor model (i.e., complete mental health, vulnerable, symptomatic but content, or troubled) at Time 1 was related to achievement (i.e., GPA, FCAT-math, FCAT-reading, absences, office disciplinary referrals [ODRs]) the following school year (i.e., Time 2).

A previously analyzed data set (Time 1) and a different archival data set yielded from student records unique to the current study (Time 2) comprised of data from 300 adolescents were analyzed. Results of regression analyses to explore the predictive initial relationship of mental health to later student achievement indicated that initial SWB predicted student grades one year later, initial internalizing psychopathology predicted absences one year later, and initial externalizing psychopathology predicted grades, absences, and ODRs one year later. Results of mixed model ANCOVAs indicated that students' grades and attendance across time varied as a function of mental health group. Specifically, students belonging to the troubled mental health group declined at a significantly faster rate than youth without psychopathology across time on GPA.

In contrast, the slope of students in the symptomatic but content group was not significantly different from the slope of peers with low psychopathology. Additionally, at Time 2, the best school attendance and school grades were found by students who had both average/high SWB and low psychopathology one year earlier, supporting the long-term utility of complete mental health.

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