Universal Wellness Screening-Monitoring

Screening and  Monitoring

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Quality Control

Universal screening supports prevention and early intervention practices in schools. Assessing emotional and behavioral problems is often the primary focus of school-based screening — however, this problem focus does not address the interests of a small percentage of students.  Including  strength-based measures in school-based universal mental wellness screening broadens educators’ understanding of mental health and informs proactive interventions that address problems and while enhance strengths.


Universal Complete Mental Wellness Screening Via Student Self-Report:

Rationale and Step-by-Step Approach



See Also

School Mental Health Collaborative

Best practices in universal screening for social, emotional, and behavioral outcomes: An implementation guide


Key References

Dowdy, E., Furlong, M. J., Raines, T. C., Price, M., Murdock, J., … Bovery, B. (2014). Enhancing school-based mental health services with a preventive and promotive approach to universal screening for complete mental health. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 25, 1–20. doi:10.1080/10474412.2014.929951


Dowdy, E., Williams, L., Dever, B., Moore, S., Kamphaus, R., Raines, T., & Furlong, M. J. (2016). Universal self-report screening in high school to predict internalizing symptoms. School Psychology Review, 45, 458–476. https://doi.org/10.17105/SPR45-4.458-476


Moffa, K., Dowdy, E., & Furlong. M. J. (2016). Exploring the contributions of school belonging to complete mental health screening. Australian Educational and Developmental Psychologist. doi:10.1017/edp.2016.8


Moore, S. A., & Widales-Benitez, O., & Carnazzo, K. W., Kim, E. K., Moffa, K., & Dowdy, E. (2016). Conducting universal complete mental health screening via student self-report. Contemporary School Psychology, 19, 253–267. doi:10.1007/s40688-015-0062-x

Expanding beyond a primarily deficit focused approach, contemporary mental health screening has examined a combination of students’ psychological distress and subjective well-being (Moore et al., 2015). This “dual-factor” approach, which examines both positive and negative symptoms of mental health, (Greenspoon & Saklofske, 2001; Keyes, 2005; Suldo & Schaffer, 2008) is aligned with current definitions of mental health as the state of being “free of psychopathology and flourishing, with high levels of emotional, psychological, and social well-being” (Keyes, 2005, p. 539).

Although there is not yet a consensus criteria for determining student membership in complete mental health groups, the majority of school-based studies to date have first sorted students by symptoms of high and low psychological distress, and then by high and low subjective well-being (Greenspoon & Saklofske, 2001; Suldo & Shaffer, 2008; Venning, Wilson, Kettler, & Eliott, 2013), a process that creates four logical mental health groups (Kim et al., 2017). By screening students for both positive and negative indicators of mental health, school support teams have an expanded picture of students, including which strengths might serve as protective factors in the future and facilitate positive developmental outcomes.


Key References

Kim, E., Dowdy, E., Furlong, M. J., & You, S. (2018). Complete mental health screening: Psychological strengths and life satisfaction in Korean students. Child Indicators Research, 12, 1–15. First online, 23 May 2018. doi:10.1007/s12187-018-9561-4


Kim, E., Dowdy, E., Furlong, M. J., & You, S. (2017). Mental health profiles and quality of life outcomes among Korean adolescents. School Psychology International, 38, 98–116. doi.org/10.1177/0143034316682296


Kim, E. K., Dowdy, E., & Furlong, M. J.  (2014). An exploration of using a dual-factor model in school-based mental health screening. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 29, 127–140. doi:10.1177/0829573514529567

All of our surveys include items that assess if the students appear to be a taking the survey with at least a minimal level of seriousness. This is to judge if their responses are usable and meaningful.

This study shows one way that we evaluate the validity of each student’s responses. This is important for research purposes, so as to not introduce unnecessary error variance in analyses. It is also useful information for school care teams that follow-up with individual students to provide support services.


Key Reference

Furlong, M. J., Fullchange, A., & Dowdy, E. (2017). Effects of mischievous responding on the results of school-based mental health screening: I love rum raisin ice cream, really I do! School Psychology Quarterly, 32, 320–335. doi:10.1037/spq0000168

Dual-Factor Screening Approach

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