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Dimensions of Mental Health: Life Satisfaction, Positive Affect, Anxiety and Depression

Bruce Headey, Jonathan Kelley and Alex Wearing
Social Indicators Research
Vol. 29, No. 1 (May, 1993), pp. 63-82
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27522681
Page Count: 20
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Dimensions of Mental Health: Life Satisfaction, Positive Affect, Anxiety and Depression
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Abstract

Psychological well-being and psychological distress are often regarded as distinct, if not orthogonal dimensions of mental health. Based on analyses in this paper, we consider the distinction misleading. Four dimensions seem worth measuring in general population surveys: life satisfaction, positive affect, anxiety and depression. Furthermore, one of the well-being dimensions, life satisfaction, is quite strongly correlated with a distress dimension, depression. A person is unlikely to be both satisfied with life and depressed, but may be satisfied and anxious. The paper is based on convergent validity (exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses) and divergent validity assessments of a range of widely used measures, which were included in the Victorian Quality of Life Panel Survey, 1987.

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