Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



The dual-factor model of mental health proposes that symptoms of mental illness and markers of mental wellness can occur simultaneously, while functioning as discrete factors that contribute to mental health and adaptive functioning (Keyes, 2005). The current study investigated the utility of the dual-factor model of mental health (cf. Greenspoon & Saklofske, 2001; Suldo & Shaffer, 2008; Suldo, Thalji, & Ferron, 2011) in college students (N = 1,023). Using self-reported symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, inattention, and hyperactivity/impulsivity as indicators of psychopathology, in combination with self-reported subjective well-being (SWB) as an indicator of wellness, participants were classified into one of four mental health groups (i.e., complete mental health, vulnerable, symptomatic but content, troubled) and investigated whether mental health groups differ significantly with respect to their levels of school-based performance (i.e., GPA), adjustment (e.g., academic efficacy, academic satisfaction), engagement (e.g., academic engagement, student-staff engagement), social connectedness, and resilience. The present study also assessed whether the two mental health groups characterized by elevated levels of psychopathology (i.e., symptomatic but content and troubled groups) exhibited significantly different types of symptoms. Finally, exploratory moderation analyses were conducted to assess whether SWB significantly moderated the relationship between psychopathology and outcomes of interest. Study findings support the existence of the dual-factor model of mental health in college students, as each of the four possible mental health groups were observable parts of the total sample, with each group encompassing a sizable number of students. In addition, results demonstrated that of the two groups characterized by elevated levels of psychopathology, the troubled group evidenced significantly higher levels of depression, anxiety, and stress, compared to participants classified as part of the symptomatic but content group. Finally, results further established the utility of this model by detecting differences in functioning between mental health groups. Moderation analyses yielded no evidence of interaction effects; however, SWB consistently emerged as the most robust predictor of each of the dependent variables, further validating the significance of SWB as it relates to important college student outcomes. Implications for theory, practice, and research are discussed.



Committee Chair

Kelley, Mary Lou



Available for download on Thursday, October 06, 2022

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Psychology Commons