International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (2021-02-01)

Wellbeing Literacy: Conceptualization, Measurement, and Preliminary Empirical Findings from Students, Parents and School Staff

  • Hanchao Hou,
  • Tan-Chyuan Chin,
  • Gavin R. Slemp,
  • Lindsay G. Oades

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 18, no. 1485
p. 1485


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Aims: Wellbeing literacy is the intentional use of wellbeing relevant vocabulary, knowledge and language skills to maintain or improve the wellbeing of oneself, others and the world. In this study, we operationalize the human aspects of the concept of wellbeing literacy and empirically test its relationship with wellbeing and illbeing. We also assess its incremental variance in wellbeing and illbeing, after controlling for existing and well-established predictors of these constructs within education settings. Methods: We developed and empirically tested the Wellbeing literacy 6-item (Well-Lit 6) scale to assess the concept of wellbeing literacy in the education context. The scale was developed based on a working definition of wellbeing literacy, in combination with the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)’s definition of literacy. The Well-Lit 6 was administered via a cross-sectional survey to three Australian samples that comprise different elements of Australian education systems: students (N = 1392), parents (N = 584) and school staff (N = 317). Results: Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) suggested the six items of the Well-Lit 6 form an independent construct, empirically distinguishable from other wellbeing-related constructs (e.g., general wellbeing, resilience, and emotion regulation). Convergent analyses showed wellbeing literacy was positively related to wellbeing and negatively related to illbeing. Incremental validity analyses showed wellbeing literacy predicted variance in wellbeing and illbeing after controlling for participant demographics, resilience, and emotion regulation, showing initial evidence of incremental validity. Conclusions: Our results provide preliminary evidence that wellbeing literacy is a distinct construct from wellbeing and illbeing, and it also demonstrates significant unique variance in these constructs over and above resilience and emotion regulation. The Well-Lit 6 is a useful provisional measure of wellbeing literacy, although we suggest a fruitful avenue for future research is to develop a more comprehensive scale of wellbeing literacy that denotes specific facets of communication, allowing a fuller exploration wellbeing literacy, its components, and their antecedents and consequences. We offer further recommendations for future research and discuss limitations with our approach.