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Assessing College Students’ Social and Emotional Strengths: A Cross-Cultural Comparison from Mexico, United States, and Spain


Abstract: Endeavors supporting college students’ positive psychosocial development are gaining attention and investment in various countries and social contexts. Higher education experiences provide new academic, social, and vocational advancement opportunities at a critical developmental stage. However, higher education can also cause distress due to the challenges and stressors present during this new stage of increased independence. The Social Emotional Health Survey-Higher Education (SEHS-HE) assesses the core psychosocial strengths of youths transitioning from secondary schools into higher education institutions (IHE) to aid campus student support services. The present study sought to extend the SEHS-HE research by examining its application with samples from Mexico (n = 4,207), United States (n = 1,638), and Spain (n = 1,734), college students. Confirmatory factor analyses investigated the hypothesized SEHS-HE higher-order factor model. The Mexico sample returned an acceptable model fit, but the USA and Spain samples had a suboptimal fit; hence, we explored alternative models. A two-level structure had full invariance for all three samples. This study extends the current scholarship on the conceptual model and psychometric properties of SEHS-HE. The discussion focuses on implications for future research to enhance SEHS-HE in national and cross-national research and practice.
Keywords: Spain / students / model / Survey / structure / SEHS / Mexico / college / Social / higher education

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