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Background: Mental health literacy programs are a common community-based approach used to address the prevention of mental health issues on college campuses. Current assessment strategies used to evaluate the effectiveness of these programs often lack strong theoretical rational and psychometric rigor.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was twofold. First, based upon extant literature, theory, and standard clinical practice, we propose a process-based model of mental health literacy that includes three macro factors—identifying mental health issues, locating empirically based resources, and responding to mental health issues—and three micro processes of how they unfold—acquiring knowledge, building self-efficacy, and applying skills (behavior). The second aim was to test the psychometric properties of a new tool created to evaluate this process-based model—the Mental Health Awareness and Advocacy Assessment Tool (MHAA-AT).
Setting: Not applicable.
Intervention: Not applicable.
Research Design: A national sample of 296 college attending participants were recruited from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Participants responded to a demographic questionnaire and the newly developed MHAA-AT. Psychometric properties were examined through item response theory, exploratory factor analyses, and bivariate correlations.
Findings: Results suggest the MHAA-AT is a sound measure and demonstrates appropriate item, person, and trait characteristics on declarative knowledge items, and single factor structures on self-efficacy and behavior items with moderate to high reliability and validity. While additional testing is need among other samples, results suggest that the MHAA-AT is a quality assessment tool.
Keywords: College students; mental health literacy; item response theory; measurement
Copyright 2016 Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation, Western Michigan University.