COVID-19 Milestone Series
In previous posts, here and here, I have drawn attention to the role of functional fear in human responses to COVID-19 pandemic. For various imaginable reasons, the government’s policy advisors do not openly discuss the use of fear in public health interventions, yet it is obvious to any observer that increasing fear is the primary target of governmental interventions to control the public’s responses to the pandemic.
Here I republish the Abstract of a significant article concerning the Fear of COVID-19 Scale. It provides a valuable tool for the assessment of this fundamental driver of human behaviour and the authors are to be congratulated.
The Fear of COVID-19 Scale: Development and Initial Validation
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The emergence of the COVID-19 and its consequences has led to fears, worries, and anxiety among individuals worldwide. The present study developed the Fear of COVID-19 Scale (FCV-19S) to complement the clinical efforts in preventing the spread and treating of COVID-19 cases.
The sample comprised 717 Iranian participants. The items of the FCV-19S were constructed based on extensive review of existing scales on fears, expert evaluations, and participant interviews. Several psychometric tests were conducted to ascertain its reliability and validity properties.
After panel review and corrected item-total correlation testing, seven items with acceptable corrected item-total correlation (0.47 to 0.56) were retained and further confirmed by significant and strong factor loadings (0.66 to 0.74). Also, other properties evaluated using both classical test theory and Rasch model were satisfactory on the seven-item scale. More specifically, reliability values such as internal consistency (α = .82) and test–retest reliability (ICC = .72) were acceptable. Concurrent validity was supported by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (with depression, r = 0.425 and anxiety, r = 0.511) and the Perceived Vulnerability to Disease Scale (with perceived infectability, r = 0.483 and germ aversion, r = 0.459).
The Fear of COVID-19 Scale, a seven-item scale, has robust psychometric properties. It is reliable and valid in assessing fear of COVID-19 among the general population and will also be useful in allaying COVID-19 fears among individuals.
Keywords: COVID-19, Fear, Iran, Psychometrics, Fear of COVID-19 Scale