Pediatric Research and Child Health

Flourishing in Children and Adolescents Facing Challenges: The Flourish and Fitness Scale

Author(s): Conway Saylor, Melissa-Miles Dunn, Rebecca Walls Dragnett, Pierce Weller, Eric Greenlee, Eve Spratt, Carrie Papa, Jacqueline Trumbull, Tara Cothran

It is optimal to assess both positive and negative affect, ideation, and behavior in children, especially as we emerge from an event such as the pandemic which has impacted so many aspects of children’s lives, education, and health. Seligman [1] identified five key components of flourishing: Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationship, Meaning, and Accomplishment (PERMA). The Flourish and Fitness Scale (FF) was developed to fill the need for a simple, portable, measure to assess child-reported flourishing in youth with and without special needs. Psychometric studies in 1142 elementary, middle, and high school students supported the theoretical PERMA factors in younger populations. Examples of FF’s potential applications included documenting the impact of a school-based SMART Strengths group with African American youth living in poverty, affirming the success of interventions designed to support African American children close to the Emanuel AME church shooting, and providing evidence of the psychosocial impact of a fitness-based intervention for youth with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The FF may be a useful tool to examine child-reported flourishing in diverse populations.

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