The latent and item structure of COVID-19 fear: A comparison of four COVID-19 fear questionnaires using SEM and network analyses

G. Mertens*, S.N.C. Duijndam, T. Smeets, P. Lodder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), several reports have shown that fear relating to COVID-19 has sharply increased. To measure fear of COVID-19, various questionnaires have been developed in parallel. However, fear concerning COVID-19 is not necessarily a uniform construct and the different questionnaires may cover diverse aspects. To examine the underlying structure of fear of COVID-19, we conducted structural equation modelling and network analyses on four scales in an online convenience sample (N = 829). Particularly, the Fear of COVID-19 Scale (Ahorsu et al., 2020), the Fear of the Coronavirus Questionnaire (Mertens et al., 2020), and the COVID Stress Scales (Taylor, Landry, Paluszek, Fergus et al., 2020, Taylor, Landry, Paluszek, Rachor et al., 2020) were included in our study, along with a new scale that also assessed socio-economic worries relating to COVID-19. We found that fear of COVID-19 was best classified into four clusters: Fear of health-related consequences, fear of supplies shortages and xenophobia, fear about socio-economic consequences, and symptoms of fear (e.g., compulsions, nightmares). We also find that a central cluster of items centered on fear of health, which likely represents the core of fear of COVID-19. These results help to characterize fear due to COVID-19 and inform future research.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102415
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Volume81
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Assessment
  • COVID-19
  • Fear
  • HEALTH ANXIETY INVENTORY
  • Health anxiety
  • INTOLERANCE
  • Intolerance of uncertainty

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