Date of Award

Spring 5-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Michael Hass, PhD

Second Advisor

Kelly Kennedy, PhD

Third Advisor

John Brady, PhD


This study comprehensively analyzed extant data from the 2016–2017 California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) secondary core and Social Emotional Health Module (SEHM) to explore the ability of the CHKS to measure subjective well-being (SWB), a critical component in the assessment of youth mental health (MH). Research has validated the significance and utility of a dual continuum model of MH, with SWB predicting emotional, behavioral, and cognitive engagement. Accordingly, when coupled with an assessment of psychopathology, positive evaluations of SWB can provide a more descriptive and comprehensive view of youth functioning than psychopathology alone. This more comprehensive view of students’ functioning can inform asset-based interventions implemented in schools. Although there has been research validating the SEHM as a measure of SWB, no research to date has provided an evaluation of such for the CHKS Core. As the most widely used survey among the CHKS survey suite, this represented a critical gap. Results of Spearman correlations and point-biserial correlations between CHKS Core scales and the SEHM Covitality Index were analyzed for significance (α = .05). A significant positive relationship was established between each of CHKS Core subscales and SEHM Covitality Index. In addition, there were significant, inverse relationships between the CHKS Core subscales and psychopathology. In analysis of variance, the coefficient of determination indicated that limited variance between the analyzed scales correlated with covitality and psychopathology, could be accounted for. A categorical breakdown of frequencies and percentages for indicators of psychopathology and scales correlated with covitality, however, portrayed a meaningful relationship among variables. These findings suggested the CHKS Core has both concurrent validity in measurement of youth SWB and an inverse variable–level relationship among SWB and psychopathology. As such, this study strengthens the utility of the CHKS Core as a measure of youth MH and holds the potential to enhance local education agencies’ evaluation of student MH wellness to inform school MH programming.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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