Academic journal article Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development

The Factor Structure of Wellness: Reexamining Theoretical and Empirical Models Underlying the Wellness Evaluation of Lifestyle (WEL) and the Five-Factor Wel

Academic journal article Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development

The Factor Structure of Wellness: Reexamining Theoretical and Empirical Models Underlying the Wellness Evaluation of Lifestyle (WEL) and the Five-Factor Wel

Article excerpt

The 5-Factor Wel, the latest version of the Wellness Evaluation of Lifestyle (WEL), was examined using a completely new 3.993-person database. Through exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis with 2 discrete subsets of these data, a new 4-factor solution was identified that provided the best fit for the data and accounted for 30% of the variance.

**********

The wellness model has gained in popularity as a positive, strengths-based, integrative, and holistic approach to understanding human functioning (Parker et al., 2001; Snyder & Lopez, 2002), in contrast to the medical or illness model that emphasizes disease and disability (Larson, 1999). Proponents of a different, more hopeful model note the need for measures of health behaviors that provide valid and reliable scores for a variety of persons and uses (Kulbok & Baldwin, 1992; Palombi, 1992; Ragheb, 1993), while recognizing that assessment of such behaviors presents a variety of measurement problems due to the subjective nature of perceived health (Larson, 1991, 1999). Accurate assessment also requires theoretical or conceptual models defining the components of wellness, which in turn should be based in empirical research (Sexton, 2001). As these models are developed and tested, the emergence of new models is both an anticipated and desired outcome.

Consistent with Sexton's (2001) recommendations, Sweeney and Witmer (1991) and Myers, Sweeney, and Witmer (2000) presented a holistic model of wellness and prevention over the life span, called the "Wheel of Wellness" (WoW), based on interdisciplinary research examining characteristics of healthy persons. They included in the WoW only characteristics for which there existed an established empirical link with enhanced quality of life, well-being, and longevity. The Wellness Evaluation of Lifestyle (WEL) inventory (Myers, Sweeney, & Witmer, 1996) was designed to assess each of the characteristics of wellness identified in the WoW.

Hattie, Myers, and Sweeney (in press) examined a large database developed over several years using four early versions of the WEL (Myers, 2003). Factor analyses and structural equation modeling resulted in the creation of the Five-Factor Wel (5F-Wel, formerly called the WEL-J; Myers & Sweeney, 1999) with substantially improved psychometric properties over the original WEL. In addition, a new evidence-based model of wellness was proposed (Myers & Sweeney, in press; Sweeney & Myers, in press). Data gathered and maintained by the first author using the 5F-Wel provided a rather substantial and completely new (i.e., unexamined) database for further investigation of the statistical and psychometric properties of the instrument.

In this article, the WoW model and the development and validation of the WEL and 5F-Wel inventories are described. The empirically based Indivisible Self Wellness (IS-WEL) model, the basis of the 5F-Wel, is presented, followed by the results from a comprehensive set of analyses of the 5F-Wel database. These analyses led to a fundamental reexamination of the constructs underlying the 5F-Wel and differing suggestions about the way in which we measure and profile wellness. A new, more parsimonious yet also holistic structure for examining and assessing wellness is presented, and implications for research and counseling are considered.

THE WHEEL OF WELLNESS MODEL

The WoW was originally proposed as a multilevel, circumplex model for explaining both the characteristics of healthy functioning and the nature of the relationships among those characteristics. Witmer, Sweeney, and Myers (1998) hypothesized relationships among 16 characteristics associated with positive health, quality of life, and longevity (see Figure 1). In an extensive literature review, Myers et al. (2000) concluded that existing theoretical and empirical literature supports each of the characteristics of wellness included in the model. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.