Toward a Science of Mental Health - Oxford Handbooks

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date: 01 December 2015

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter summarizes the research on the dual-continua model of mental health and mental illness. Studies supported this model and therefore the view that the presence of mental health is more than the absence of mental illness. Mental health is conceived of as a constellation of dimensions of subjective well-being, specifically hedonic and eudaemonic measures of subjective well-being. Specifically, the mental health continuum ranges from languishing, moderate, to flourishing mental health. These classifications are important for distinguishing and predicting level of functioning for individuals with and without a current mental disorder. Among individuals free of a mental disorder, flourishing individuals report the fewest missed days of work, the fewest half-day or greater work cutbacks, the healthiest psychosocial functioning, high resilience, and high intimacy), the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease, the lowest number of chronic physical diseases at all ages, the fewest health limitations of activities of daily living, and lower health-care utilization. Even among adults with a mental disorder during the past 12 months, those who are flourishing functioned better than those with moderate mental health, who in turn functioned better than those who were languishing. The findings strongly support the adoption of a more positive paradigm to treatment, prevention, and promotion of population mental health.

Keywords: flourishing, happiness, mental health, psychological well-being, subjective well-being

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