Education Specialist (Ed.S.)
Degree Granting Department
Psychological and Social Foundations
Shannon M. Suldo, Ph.D.
Kathy L. Bradley-Klug, Ph.D.
John M. Ferron, Ph.D.
classmate support, subjective well-being, teacher support
In the study of positive psychology and mental health there has been greater emphasis placed on the presence of indicators of well-being, as opposed to previous models solely based on the presence or absence of psychopathological symptoms. This has yielded a model titled the Dual Factor Model of Mental Health (DFM; Suldo, 2016). Psychopathological symptoms have been conceptualized as a categorical variable encompassing an elevated level of symptoms of either externalizing or internalizing disorders. Complete Mental Health (CMH) is generally conceptualized as having low psychopathology (PTH) and high subjective well-being (SWB). Previous research has indicated more positive outcomes, such as academic achievement and supportive social relationships, are associated with CMH. The DFM has been examined in adolescents and young adults, however, only one study has identified the model in elementary school students (Greenspoon & Saklofske, 2008). The current study completed secondary analysis of an archival data set (Hearon, 2017) to examine the distribution of the DFM in a sample of 178 elementary school students (grades 4th and 5th) and the impact that mental health group status had on social functioning levels with teachers and classmates. Results from this study indicated the DFM was present in a sample of elementary school students, with the majority of participants being classified in the CMH group, consistent with previous literature. Additionally, regarding students’ perceived social support of classmates and teachers, those groups with elevated levels of SWB reported greater mean values than those groups that had decreased levels of SWB. Finally, between group differences in terms of psychopathology were present, whereas within group differences in terms of externalizing and internalizing behavior were not present in any group. Implications for school psychologists, such as the importance of assessing SWB in tandem with psychopathology are presented. Finally, limitations of this study (i.e., nested data) and avenues for future research (i.e., mental health status predicting peer networks, continued evaluation of DFM psychopathology make-up) are reviewed.
Scholar Commons Citation
Smith, Nicholas David W., "An Application of the Dual Factor Model of Mental Health in Elementary School Students: Implications for Social Functioning and Psychopathology" (2018). Graduate Theses and Dissertations.