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Abstract

Psychological distress (PD) is usually based on the level of anxiety and depressive symptoms while psychological well-being (PW) is usually conceptualized as some combination of positive affective states such as happiness, optimism, satisfaction with life, and hope. This paper addresses the question of whether psychological distress and psychological well-being are the opposite poles of the same axis of mental health or independent constructs that should be measured on two independent axes. Methods: The sample consisted of (510) Kuwait University students, (240) males with a mean age of (24.08 ±5.10) and (270) females, with a mean age of (21.68 ±2.70), (f=46.77, p< 0.001). The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) and the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) were administered to participants to assess Psychological Distress. In addition, the Oxford Happiness Inventory (OHI), the Revised Life Orientation Test (LOT-R), the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS), and the Adult Hope Scale (AHS) were administered to participants to assess Psychological well-being. Results: The explanatory factor analysis (PCA) extracted one bipolar factor with the following loading: (.88) for OHI, (.84) for LOT-R, (.81) for SWLS, (.74) for AHS, (-.70) for BDI-II, and (-.53) for BAI which explains 56.16% of the total variance. The Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) extracted one bipolar factor with the following loading: (.70) for OHI, (.81) for LOT-R, (.77) for SWLS, (.69) for AHS, (-.72) for BDI-II, and (-.44) for BAI which explains 48.88% of the total variance and was labeled psychological well-being vs. psychological distress. Factor Structural analysis confirms that these 6 scales can be viewed as components of two-dimensional latent constructs (psychological distress and well-being) which reflects a higher-order concept of mental health. Conclusions: We conclude that assessment of mental health in general populations should use concomitant measures of psychological distress and well-being.

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