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08.05.2017 | Ausgabe 3/2018

Prevention Science 3/2018

Knowing Every Child: Validation of the Holistic Student Assessment (HSA) as a Measure of Social-Emotional Development

Prevention Science > Ausgabe 3/2018
Tina Malti, Antonio Zuffianò, Gil G. Noam
Wichtige Hinweise
A correction to this article is available online at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s11121-018-0873-x.


Knowing every child’s social-emotional development is important as it can support prevention and intervention approaches to meet the developmental needs and strengths of children. Here, we discuss the role of social-emotional assessment tools in planning, implementing, and evaluating preventative strategies to promote mental health in all children and adolescents. We, first, selectively review existing tools and identify current gaps in the measurement literature. Next, we introduce the Holistic Student Assessment (HSA), a tool that is based in our social-emotional developmental theory, The Clover Model, and designed to measure social-emotional development in children and adolescents. Using a sample of 5946 students (51% boys, M age = 13.16 years), we provide evidence for the psychometric validity of the self-report version of the HSA. First, we document the theoretically expected 7-dimension factor structure in a calibration sub-sample (n = 984) and cross-validate its structure in a validation sub-sample (n = 4962). Next, we show measurement invariance across development, i.e., late childhood (9- to 11-year-olds), early adolescence (12- to 14-year-olds), and middle adolescence (15- to 18-year-olds), and evidence for the HSA’s construct validity in each age group. The findings support the robustness of the factor structure and confirm its developmental sensitivity. Structural equation modeling validity analysis in a multiple-group framework indicates that the HSA is associated with mental health in expected directions across ages. Overall, these findings show the psychometric properties of the tool, and we discuss how social-emotional tools such as the HSA can guide future research and inform large-scale dissemination of preventive strategies.

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