Social Emotional Distress Scale (SEDS)

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 June 2017. 

Key Reference

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

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