School Psychology Review
The Dual-Factor Model of Mental Health in Youth
Special Topic: Promoting Academic Competence for Underserved Students
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Suldo and Shaffer (2008) should be roundly applauded for pursuing an empirical examination of relations between the presence of wellness and the absence of psychopathology in adolescents. The possibility that psychopathology and wellness make related but distinct contributions to mental health has been widely recognized in the American Psychological Association’s agenda on positive psychology (Keyes & Haidt, 2003), in Rutter and Sroufe’s (2000) descriptions of the challenges facing the science of developmental psychopathology, and in Greenspoon and Saklofske’s (2001) empirical description of a two factor model of mental health with a Canadian sample of elementary students. Despite its importance,psychological wellness has not been incorporated into the day-to-day practice of psychology in any notable ways. Outside of public agencies like schools and juvenile justice,access to mental health services is linked to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental Disorders (4th ed., text revision; DSMIV-TR; American Psychiatric Association,2000) diagnoses, which are based predominantly on negative symptoms and dysfunction. Mostitems on prominent measures of psychosocial adjustment (Reynolds & Kamphaus, 2004;Achenbach & Rescorla, 2001) describe maladaptive behaviors, and even when subscales assess positive behaviors, the subscales’s cores are more sensitive measures of the degree of maladjustment (the presence of pathology and the absence of well-being) than adjustment(the absence of pathology and the presence of well-being).