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Evaluation of the English version of the Fear of COVID-19 Scale and its relationship with behavior change and political beliefs
journal contributionposted on 09.12.2020, 01:14 by Taylor Winter, Benjamin Riordan, Amir H Pakpour, Mark D Griffiths, Andre Mason, John W Poulgrain, Damian Scarf
The COVID-19 pandemic has many individuals around the world fearing for their lives. The constant news coverage, rapid transmission, and relatively high mortality rate, make fearfulness a natural response. To assess the fear of COVID-19, the Fear of COVID-19 Scale (FCV-19S) was developed. The primary aim of the present study was to conduct the first psychometric assessment and validation of the English version of the FCV-19S. Two samples were collected in New Zealand. Sample 1 comprised 1624 participants of which 1397 completed all questions and were used in the analyses. Sample 2 comprised 1111 participants of which 1023 completed all questions and were used in the analyses. Several psychometric tests were conducted to ascertain the scale's reliability and validity. Across both samples, the FCV-19S had high internal consistency. Consistent with the earlier validation studies, the FCV-19S displayed a moderately strong relationship with the perceived infectability and germ aversion subscales of the perceived vulnerability to disease scale (PVDS). Furthermore, FCV-19S scores were negatively correlated with the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS) scores. With respect to the motivating role of fear, there was a significant relationship between FCV-19S scores and adherence to the lockdown rules that were implemented in New Zealand. Finally, consistent with recent reports on the politicization of the COVID-19 pandemic, an exploratory question found that participants who rated themselves as more conservative tended to report lower FCV-19S scores. The English version of the COVID-19S is a sound unidimensional scale with robust psychometric properties and can be used with confidence among English-speaking populations.