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Te Kapehu Project

Autonomy, Belonging, Identity & Resilience Measurement Tool

Public Health South has a strategic objective to look at building resilience as a central element of mental health promotion. The Kapehu Project is an initiative focused on measuring youth resilience, social identity, self-belief and mental wellbeing. 

The first phase of the project is a broad population survey of youth using an adaptive resilience measurement tool, seeking to capture a snapshot of the mental health and wellbeing of youth. It is an easy-to-administer survey tool that can provide a population picture, a cohort or year level picture, or an individual strengths profile.

The survey questions align with the Domains of Resilience:-

 Composure, Tenacity, Reasoning, Collaboration, Vision and Health. 

The aim is to capture a strengths-profile to build a picture of where youth are thriving and also where there may be vulnerabilities. 

The evidence-gathering process involves sampling genuine youth voice in a range of contexts utilising electronic devices to deliver a short survey. 

The project is a collaboration with the University of Otago Department of Psychology, contributing to research into the role of school climates in understanding youth wellbeing. 

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The aim 

The project seeks to examine the role of positive drivers (e.g. school belonging, civic participation) and some potential negative ones (e.g., excessive social media use, lack sleep, helicopter parents) on student’s mental health and well-being.

Students will be asked to complete a survey at six monthly periods. The survey will be administered through an online survey platform (Qualtrics) and will take 10 – 20 minutes for students to complete.

The findings of this research will give schools an idea about how their students are doing (i.e. their overall mental health and well-being) and also some information on what might be impacting well-being. It is hoped that such information will be able to offer schools ideas about how to improve their school climate, ultimately benefiting students’ mental health and well-being.


Who we are 

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Damian Scarf

Senior Psychology Lecturer

Damian is the lead researcher behind the project. As senior lecturer at the University of Otago Psychology Dept he has a strong research background in the field of youth resilience. 


David Pirie

Project Lead - Health

David works in Public Health promotion with a focus on mental health and addictions.   He leads the Kapehu Project which aims to examine youth resilience in the population.


The Tool

The Measurement Scales

Depression. The Patient Health Questionnaire-2 (PHQ-2; Kroenke, Spitzer, & Williams, 2003) is a shortened form of the nine-item PHQ and consists of 2-items.

The PHQ-2 requires participants to indicate whether they have been bothered by feelings of “little interest or pleasure in doing things” and whether they have felt “down, depressed, or hopeless” over the last weeks.

Anxiety. The Generalised Anxiety Disorder-2 scale GAD-2; Kroenke, Spitzer, Williams, Monahan, and Löwe (2007) is a two-item questionnaire.  The two items require participants to indicate whether they have been bothered by “feeling nervous, anxious or on edge” and “not being able to stop or control worrying” over the last two-weeks.

Sleep Quality. Sleep quality will be assessed using a modified version of the four-item scale developed by Vazsonyi et al. (2015). Participants will be asked to indicate whether they have experienced any sleep problems (e.g. feeling like sleeping all day long or having trouble falling asleep at night) in the last two-weeks.

Resilience. The Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale – 10 item (CD-RISC-10) (Campbell-Sills & Stein, 2007) is a 10-item self-report questionnaire assessing participant’s ability to cope with stress, shortened from the original 25-item questionnaire (Connor & Davidson, 2003). The shortened scale was selected to ease the participant burden.

Social Identity. Two aspects of social identity will be measured; belonging and centrality.

Belonging will be assessed using Sheldon and Bettencourt (2002) three-item inclusion scale (e.g. “I feel a sense of belonging at this school”). Alternatively, centrality will be measured using Ellemers, Kortekaas, and Ouwerkerk (1999) three-item self-categorisation subscale (e.g. “I am like the other students at my school”).

Smartphone Addiction. The Smartphone Application-Based Addiction Scale (SABAS) contains six-items that screen for risk of smartphone addiction. Participants are asked to respond to statements about their smartphone use habits (e.g. “my smartphone is the most important thing in my life”)

Growth Mindset.  Student’s beliefs about their personal ability to change their intelligence will be assessed using the eight-item Implicit Theories of Intelligence Scale Self-Theory scale (De Castella & Byrne, 2015). Each items assess, from a first person perspective, claims about the extent to which intelligence is fixed (e.g. “I don't think I personally can do much to increase my intelligence.”) or malleable (e.g. “With enough time and effort I think I could significantly improve my intelligence level.”).

Autonomy, Competence, and Relatedness. The 21-item Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction Scale will be used to determine the degree to which an individual experiences satisfaction for each of the three needs; autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Participants will be asked to think about how the items (e.g. “I feel like I am free to decide for myself how to live my life”) relate to their life.

Helicopter Parenting. The five-item over-parenting scale will be used to assess whether students feel that their parents/guardians are too involved in their lives (e.g. “I think my parents/guardians are too overly involved in my life”).


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