Universal Happiness? Cross-Cultural Measurement Invariance of Scales Assessing Positive Mental Health

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Abstract

Research into positive aspects of the psyche is growing as psychologists learn more about the protective role of positive processes in the development and course of mental disorders, and about their substantial role in promoting mental health. With increasing globalization, there is strong interest in studies examining positive constructs across cultures. To obtain valid cross-cultural comparisons, measurement invariance for the scales assessing positive constructs has to be established. The current study aims to assess the cross-cultural measurement invariance of questionnaires for 6 positive constructs: Social Support (Fydrich, Sommer, Tydecks, & Brähler, 2009), Happiness (Subjective Happiness Scale; Lyubomirsky & Lepper, 1999), Life Satisfaction (Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985), Positive Mental Health Scale (Lukat, Margraf, Lutz, van der Veld, & Becker, 2016), Optimism (revised Life Orientation Test [LOT-R]; Scheier, Carver, & Bridges, 1994) and Resilience (Schumacher, Leppert, Gunzelmann, Strauss, & Brähler, 2004). Participants included German (n = 4,453), Russian (n = 3,806), and Chinese (n = 12,524) university students. Confirmatory factor analyses and measurement invariance testing demonstrated at least partial strong measurement invariance for all scales except the LOT-R and Subjective Happiness Scale. The latent mean comparisons of the constructs indicated differences between national groups. Potential methodological and cultural explanations for the intergroup differences are discussed.

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