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Measurement invariance of the short Warwick-Edinburgh mental wellbeing scale and latent mean differences (SWEMWBS) in young people by current care status

Anthony, Rebecca ORCID:, Moore, Graham ORCID:, Page, Nicholas ORCID:, Hewitt, Gillian ORCID:, Murphy, Simon ORCID: and Melendez-Torres, G.J. 2022. Measurement invariance of the short Warwick-Edinburgh mental wellbeing scale and latent mean differences (SWEMWBS) in young people by current care status. Quality of Life Research 31 , pp. 205-213. 10.1007/s11136-021-02896-0

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Purpose Studying mental wellbeing requires the use of reliable, valid, and practical assessment tools, such as the Short version of the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (SWEMWBS). Research on the mental wellbeing of children in care is sparse. The current study aims to: (1) examine the unidimensionality of SWEMWBS; (2) assess measurement invariance of SWEMWBS across children and young people in care compared to their peers not in care; and (3) investigate the latent factor mean differences between care status groups. Methods We used data from the 2017 School Health Research Network Student Health and Wellbeing (SHW) survey, completed by 103,971 students in years 7 to 11 from 193 secondary schools in Wales. The final data include a total of 2,795 participants (46% boys), which includes all children in care and a sub-sample of children not in care who completed the SWEMWBS scale fully and answered questions about their living situation. Results Confirmatory factor analysis supported the unidimensionality of SWEMWBS. The SWEMWBS is invariant across groups of young people in foster, residential and kinship care compared to children and young people not in care at configural, metric and scalar levels. Findings from latent mean comparisons showed that young people in care reported lower mental wellbeing than their peers, with those in residential care reporting the lowest scores. Conclusions Findings suggest that SWEMWBS is a valid scale for measuring differences in mental wellbeing for young people in care similar to the population.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer)
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher: Springer Verlag
ISSN: 0962-9343
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 May 2021
Date of Acceptance: 24 May 2021
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2023 17:11

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