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Measuring COVID-19 Fear in Australian, Indian, and Nepali University Students

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posted on 11.08.2020, 06:35 by Francesca Collins

The present study describes the adaption and validation of a brief measure of contagion-related fear and threat in Australian, Indian, and Nepali university students in Australia at the height of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Adapted from Ho, Kwong-Lo, Mak, and Wong’s (2005) SARS-related fear scale, the Contagion Fear and Threat Scale (CFTS) was rapidly adapted to capture the experience of COVID-19 pandemic-related fear. The factor structure and validity of the 6-item scale were established among Australian (n=155), Indian (n=111), and Nepali (n=148) university students studying in Australia in May-June 2020. Factor analysis revealed two 3-item factors in the Australian student sample: Fear of Infection and Existential Threat. These factors were confirmed in the Indian and Nepali student samples and mirror those found by the Ho et al. (2005) in their original instrument. The convergent and discriminant validity of the full CFTS, Fear of Infection, and Existential Threat scales are indicated via correlations with established measures of depression, anxiety, stress, subjective wellbeing, and religiosity. Differences in the performance of the Fear of Infection and Existential Threat scales are considered in terms of the respective objective and subjective nature of the constructs.