Social Emotional Distress Scale (SEDS)

Complete SEDS Rank Order Survey: This brief survey asks you to consider pairs of the 10 SEDS items and indicate which item represents a more severe level of psychological distress. Traditional student distress measures weight each item equally and then derive a total sum to form an overall distress score. Your responses will help to explore an alternative scoring strategy for student distress measures based on item severity weights. The survey presents 45 item pairs and takes no more than 10 minutes to complete. 

Students’ internal symptoms of psychological distress  were measured with a 12-item scale designed for this study that examined symptoms of anxious and depressed emotional experiencesItems were measured using a 5-point response scale (1 = not at all true of me to 5 = very true of me) and asked students to report on their “past month” experiences.  The items were as follows: I had a hard time breathing because I was anxiousI worried that I would embarrass myself in front of othersI was tense and uptightI had a hard time relaxingI felt sad and down; It was hard for me to cope and I thought I would panic; and I was scared for no good reason. Using the present study’s sample, we completed maximum likelihood confirmatory factor analyses using MPlus (Muthén & Muthén, 1998-2013). A two-factor model (anxious items and depression items) did not have adequate fit. The one-factor model (labeled Internal Distress) with seven items was supported by parallel analysis with factor loadings between .62 and .85, and adequate fit, CFI = .97, SRMR = .03. To provide additional verification, the one-factor model was evaluated using an independent sample of students attending a high school in an urban California community located more than 300 kilometers from the present study’s primary high school.  This measurement verification sample had 71 females, 140 males, and one person who reported another gender identification. There were 69% ninth graders and 31% tenth graders. The fit indices for this verification sample for the one-factor CFA were: CFI = .94, SRMR = .04. The internal consistency among the seven internal distress items was high (α = .90) for the current sample.

Update: New replication validity studies will be available by November 2017. 

Key References

Moffa, K., Dowdy, E., & Furlong. M. J. (2016). Exploring the contributions of school belonging to complete mental health screening. Australian Educational and Developmental Psychologist. doi:10.1017/edp.2016.8

Dowdy, E., Furlong, M. J., Nylund-Gibson, K., Moore, S., & Moffa, K.  (2017, in press). Initial validation of the Social Emotional Distress Scale to support complete mental health screening. Assessment for Effective Intervention.

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