Extensive Structural and Criterion Validity

The Social Emotional Health Survey– Secondary (SEHS-S) is a 36-item self-report measure that assesses youth’s strengths (Furlong, You et al., 2014). Confirmatory factor analyses and invariance testing across multiple groups by You et al. (2015) suggest a higher order-factor structure, with 12 sub-scales loading onto four second-order traits of belief in self (self-awareness, persistence, self-efficacy), belief in others (school support, family coherence, peer support), emotional competence (empathy, self-control, behavioral self-control), and engaged living (gratitude, zest, and optimism). The second-order traits load onto a higher-order latent trait called covitality.

The overall covitality score was used in this study as a measure of social emotional well-being. Evidence for the higher-order invariance model has been provided across multiple, diverse samples including U.S. (You et al., 2015), Australian (Pennell, Boman, & Mergler, 2015), Korean (Lee, You, & Furlong, 2015), and Japanese (Ito, Smith, You, Shimoda, & Furlong, 2015) samples. For this sample, the internal consistency for the overall covitality score was .88.  

Manual for pre-2020 version of the SEHS-Secondary (2015)

Key References

Furlong, M. J., You, S., Renshaw, T. L., Smith, D. C., & O’Malley, M. D. (2014). Preliminary development and validation of the Social and Emotional Health Survey for secondary students. Social Indicators Research, 117, 1011–1032. doi:10.1007/s11205-013-0373-0

Ito, A., Smith, D. C., You, S., Shimoda, Y., & Furlong, M. J. (2015). Validation of the Social Emotional Health Survey–Secondary for Japanese Students. Contemporary School Psychology, 19, 243–252. doi:10.1007/s40688-015-0068-4

Kim, E., Dowdy, W., Furlong, M. J., & You, S. (2016, in press). Mental health profiles and quality of life outcomes among Korean adolescents. School Psychology International, 38, 98–116. doi:10.1177/0143034316682296

Lee, S., You, S., & Furlong, M. J. (2016). Validation of the Social Emotional Health Survey for Korean school students. Child Indicators Research, 9, 73–92.  doi:10.1007/s12187-014-9294-y

Renshaw, T. L. (2016). Psychometric properties of the Social Emotional Health Survey with a small sample of academically at-risk adolescents. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 34, 487–495.  doi:10.1177/0734282915614495

Telef, B. B., & Furlong, M. J., (2017). Adaptation and validation of the Social Emotional Health Survey-Secondary into Turkish culture. International Journal of School & Educational Psychology, 5, 255–265.


You, S., Furlong, M. J., Felix, E., & O’Malley, M. D. (2015). Validation of the Social and Emotional Health Survey for five sociocultural groups: Multi-group invariance and latent mean analyses. Psychology in the Schools, 52, 349–362. doi:10.1002/pits.21828

SEHS-Primary review survey


SEHS-Higher Education review survey

The SEHS-P (Furlong et al., 2013) is a 20-item self-report measure of covitality for primary school children. Covitality in the SEHS-P is measured from 16 items, with 4 items each assessing gratitude, optimism, zest and persistence. An example item for gratitude is “I am lucky to go to my school.” An example item for optimism is “I expect good things to happen at my school”. An example item for zest is “I get excited when I learn something new at school.” An example item for persistence is “I keep working until I get my schoolwork right.”

Four additional concurrent validity check items in the SEHS-P provide a supplementary prosocial behavior sub-scale score. An example item for prosocial behavior is “I follow the classroom rules.” The four response options are “almost never,” “sometimes,” “often,” or “very often.” Confirmatory factor analysis and latent means analysis suggests the SEHS-P appropriately measures the first-order constructs of gratitude, optimism, zest persistence and identifies a separate prosocial behavior sub-scale.

Key References

Furlong, M. J., You, S., Renshaw, T. L., O’Malley, M. D., & Rebelez, J. (2013). Preliminary development of the Positive Experiences at School Scale for elementary school children. Child Indicators Research, 6, 753–775. doi:10.1007/s12187-013-9193-7

Renshaw, T. R. (2016). Technical adequacy of the Positive Experiences at School Scale with Adolescents. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 33, 757–768. doi:10.1177/0734282915627920

Wilkins, B., Boman, P., & Mergler, A. (2015). Positive psychological strengths and school engagement in primary school children. Cogent Education, 2, 1–11. doi:10.1080/2331186X.2015.1095680

Wang, C., Yang, C., Jiang, X., & Furlong, M. J. (2016). Validation of Social Emotional Health Survey-Primary for Chinese students. International Journal of School and Educational Psychology, 6, 62–74. doi:10.1080/21683603.2016.1272026

SEHS-Secondary review survey

The Social Emotional Health Survey-Higher Education (SEHS-HE), is a multidimensional measure of covitality. Scale development was carried out over 18 months at UCSB involving five phases: conceptual grounding and item pool generation; cognitive interviews and item refinement; pilot survey and item reduction; structural validation survey and analyses; and, validity and stability survey and analyses. Starting with a pool of 72 items, item selection and reduction was carried out using a sample of 771 college students. A second sample of 1,413 students (63.5% female, mean age 20 years) completed the refined 48-item measure. Confirmatory factor analyses found acceptable fit for the SEHS-HE higher-order covitality latent structure. A final set of 36 items consisted of four latent traits: belief-in-self (sub-scales: self-efficacy, persistence, self-awareness), belief-in-others (sub-scales: family support, institutional support, peer support), emotional competence (sub-scales: cognitive reappraisal, empathy, self-regulation), and engaged living (sub-scales: gratitude, zest, optimism).

Complete invariance was found for males and females with small effect size differences on latent mean scores. Evidence supported the SEHS-HE total score’s concurrent and predictive validity for students’ subjective well-being (r = .72, r = .65, respectively) and psychological distress (r = -.56, r = -.45, respectively). The four-month stability coefficient for the SEHS-HE total score was .82, indicating it measures trait-like psychological constructs.  

Key References

Jones, C. N., You, S., & Furlong, M. J. (2013). A preliminary examination of covitality as integrated wellbeing in college students. Social Indicators Research, 111, 511–526. doi:10.1007/s11205-012-0017-9

Furlong, M. J., You, S., Shishim, M., & Dowdy, E. (2017). Development and validation of the Social Emotional Health Survey–Higher Education version. Applied Research in Quality of Life, 12, 343–367. doi:10.1007/s11482-016-9464-9

Zachariah, S., Boman, P., Mergler, A., & Furlong, M. J. (2015). Effect of self-deception on well-being and anxiety in university students. Cogent Psychology, 2, 993850, 1–17. doi:10.1080/23311908.2014.993850

Now Available: SEHS-Secondary (2020). Enhancement and Standardization Technical Report. Request copy