Is the Mental Health Literacy Scale for Healthcare Students (MHLS-HS) Useful for Identifying Gaps in Student Knowledge?

Research Paper Title

Mental Health Literacy in Healthcare Students: An Expansion of the Mental Health Literacy Scale.

Background

Although the recently developed mental health literacy scale showed significant score differences between general population and mental health professionals, to this date there is no published scale intended to specifically assess mental health literacy (MHL) in healthcare students.

This study constructed a 26-item scale-based measure to assess multiple components of MHL and associated psychometric properties in a sample of medical and public health students of 11 universities in Taiwan.

Methods

The development and validation of the scale comprised three phases: measure development, pilot testing (n = 32), and psychometric properties examination (n = 1294).

Results

26 items were generated for five factors:

  1. Maintenance of positive mental health;
  2. Recognition of mental illness;
  3. Attitude to mental illness stigma;
  4. Help-seeking efficacy; and
  5. Help-seeking attitude.

The scale demonstrated good:

  • Content validity;
  • Internal consistency; and
  • Construct validity (factorial validity, convergent validity, discriminant validity, and known groups validity).

Conclusions

The findings suggest that the Mental Health Literacy Scale for Healthcare Students (MHLS-HS) is a valid, reliable, and practical tool for identifying MHL gaps in medical and public health students.

It has the potential to inform remedial curricular interventions for educators and evaluate intervention effectiveness.

Reference

Chao, H-J., Lien, Y-J., Kao, Y-C., Tasi, I-C., Lin, H-S. & Lien, Y-Y. (2020) Mental Health Literacy in Healthcare Students: An Expansion of the Mental Health Literacy Scale. International Journal of of Environmental Reaearch and Public Health. 17(3), pp.948. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17030948.

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