Development and psychometric properties of a new questionnaire for assessing mental health literacy in young people

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Objectives: Several instruments assess constructs related to mental health literacy and to the stigma associated with mental health problems. However, most of them have conceptualisations that may limit the assessment of the mental health literacy concept in a more up-to-date and comprehensive perspective. Furthermore, some of the instruments' structure may limit their use in large scale samples, in a short period of time and with repeated measures. This article presents the development of the Mental Health Literacy questionnaire (MHLq) and the studies to assess its psychometric properties. Methods: After item-pool generation, content validity was assessed by experts and a think aloud procedure. The MHLq was tested in two samples of students (study 1 n=239; aged between 12 and 15 years old; study 2 n=737; aged between 11 and 17 years old) to determine its psychometric properties. Results: Factor analysis procedures favoured a three-factor solution (with 33 items) of the MHLq. The questionnaire showed good internal consistency (total score α=0.84; Factor 1 first aid skills and help seeking - α=0.79; Factor 2 knowledge/stereotypes - α=0.78; Factor 3 self-help strategies - α=0.72); and excellent test-retest reliability, the ICC for the total score of MHLq was 0.88 and for the three dimensions of MHLq was 0.80 (Factor 1), 0.90 (Factor 2) and 0.86 (Factor 3). Conclusions: The MHLq is a practical, valid and reliable tool for identifying gaps in knowledge, beliefs and behavioural intentions, in large samples, allowing the development and evaluation of interventions aimed at promoting mental health in young people.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-72
Number of pages12
JournalUniversitas Psychologica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Mental health literacy
  • Psychometric properties
  • Questionnaire
  • Young people


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