Evaluation of the mental health continuum-short form (MHC-SF) in setswana-speaking South Africans

Clin Psychol Psychother. May-Jun 2008;15(3):181-92. doi: 10.1002/cpp.572.


A continuous assessment and a categorical diagnosis of the presence of mental health, described as flourishing, and the absence of mental health, characterized as languishing, is applied to a random sample of 1050 Setswana-speaking adults in the Northwest province of South Africa. Factor analysis revealed that the mental health continuum-short form (MHC-SF) replicated the three-factor structure of emotional, psychological and social well-being found in US samples. The internal reliability of the overall MHC-SF Scale was 0.74. The total score on the MHC-SF correlated 0.52 with a measure of positive affect, between 0.35 and 0.40 with measures of generalized self-efficacy and satisfaction with life, and between 0.30 and 0.35 with measures of coping strategies, sense of coherence, and community collective self-efficacy. The total score on the MHC-SF correlated -0.22 with the total score on the General Health Questionnaire. Criteria for the categorical diagnosis were applied, and findings revealed that 20% were flourishing, 67.8% were moderately mentally healthy, and 12.2% were languishing. Confirmatory factor analysis supported the hypothesized two-continua model of mental health and mental illness found in the USA.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Language*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / ethnology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Self Efficacy
  • South Africa
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Translating
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data