Mental Health Continuum Short Form

Citation: Lamers, S. M. A., Westerhof, G. J., Bohlmeijer, E. T., ten Klooster, P. M., & Keyes, C. L. M. (2011). Evaluating the psychometric properties of the mental health Continuum-Short Form (MHC-SF). Journal of Clinical Psychology, 67(1), 99-110. doi:

Items listed here.


Main positive psychological well-being construct measured: Flourishing

Sub-constructs measured: N/A

Available subscales: Emotional, social, and psychological well-being

Description: The Mental Health Continuum Short Form (MHC-SF) is derived from the long form (MHC-LF) which consists of 7 items measuring emotional well-being, 18 items measuring psychological well-being, and 15 items measuring social well-being (40 items total). The MHC-SF consists of 14 items that were selected to represent each fact of well-being. The short form consists of 3 emotional well-being items (reflects hedonic well-being), 6 psychological well-being items, and 5 social well-being items (when combined, reflects eudemonic well-being). These response options assess the frequency with which respondents experience each symptom of positive mental health. This scale also provides a flourishing and languishing mental health indicator based on these three subscales.

Number of items: 14 items: 3 items for emotional (hedonic) well-being, 5 items for social well-being, and 6 items for psychological well-being

Example of statement/item:  Emotional well-being: “During the past month, how often do you feel satisfied with life?”; Social well-being: “During the past month, how often do you feel that you had something important to contribute to society”; Psychological well-being: “During the past month, how often do you feel that you had experiences that challenged you to grow and become a better person?”

Response options:  6-point Likert scale ranging from 0 “never” to 5 “everyday”

Total score: Items are summed, yielding a total score ranging from 0 to 70. Subscale scores range from 0 to 15 for the emotional (hedonic) well-being, from 0 to 25 for social well-being, and from 0 to 30 for psychological well-being. Flourishing mental health is defined by reporting ≥ 1 of 3 hedonic signs and ≥ 6 of 11 eudaimonic signs (social and psychological subscales combined) experienced “every day” or “5-6 times a week.” Higher scores indicate greater levels of positive well-being.

Examples of studies:

Bassi M, Negri L, Delle Fave A, Accardi R. The relationship between post-traumatic stress and positive mental health symptoms among health workers during COVID-19 pandemic in Lombardy, Italy. J Affect Disord. 2021 Feb 1;280(Pt B):1-6.

Burns RJ, Fardfini K. Prevalence and Correlates of Positive Mental Health Among Canadian Adults With Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes: Results From the Canadian Community Health Survey—Mental Health. Can J Diabetes. 2020 Dec 5:S1499-2671(20)30469-X. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjd.2020.12.001.

Doré I, Sylvester B, Sabiston C, Sylvestre MP, O’Loughlin J, Brunet J, Bélanger M. Mechanisms underpinning the association between physical activity and mental health in adolescence: a 6-year study. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2020 Jan 31;17(1):9.

Fredrickson, B. L., Grewen, K. M., Algoe, S. B., Firestine, A. M., Arevalo, J. M., Ma, J., et al. (2016). Psychological well-being and the human conserved transcriptional response to adversity. PLoS One, 10(3), e0121839.

Keyes CL, Simoes EJ. To flourish or not: positive mental health and all-cause mortality. Am J Public Health. 2012 Nov;102(11):2164-72. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300918.

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