Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register
Kubb 2020

Measuring COVID-19 Related Anxiety in Parents: psychometric Comparison of Four Different Inventories

  1. Study Type
  2. Observational
  1. Study Aim
  2. Other
  1. Study Design
  2. Cross-sectional
  1. Intervention Assignment
  2. Not Applicable

Measuring COVID-19 Related Anxiety in Parents: psychometric Comparison of Four Different Inventories

Kubb C, Foran HM
Journal article
Report Results
BACKGROUND: The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak and measures to contain the global pandemic can have an impact on individual's well-being and mental health status. Parents of young children are particularly at risk for high levels of parental stress due to the current public health crisis, which can impact parenting behaviors and children's well-being. Although different initial scales have been developed to measure COVID-19 related anxiety, they have not yet been tested sufficiently in parent samples. A brief measure of COVID-19-related anxiety is necessary for both quick assessment in practice and in larger epidemiological studies of parents. OBJECTIVE: To compare the distributions, validities and reliabilities of four different COVID-19 anxiety scales: Fear of COVID-19 Scale (FCV19-S), Coronavirus Anxiety Scale (CAS), Pandemic Anxiety Scale (PAS) and one subscale of the COVID-19 Stress Scale (CSS). Based on the psychometric properties, the purpose of this study is to provide recommendations for a brief unidimensional inventory to assess Covid-19 related anxiety among parents. METHODS: A cross-sectional online survey on 515 German-speaking parents (90.3% mothers) with a child aged 0 to 6 years was conducted during a six-week period (June 29 to August 9, 2020). Half of the parents were recruited via Facebook parenting groups while the other half were recruited through childcare centers. Twenty-five items on Covid-19 related anxiety were psychometrically tested with the framework of Classical Test Theory (CTT), including item analysis, correlational analysis with family variables and explorative factor analysis (EFA). Moreover, an Item Response Theory (IRT) approach was applied to estimate item discriminations, item difficulties and test information functions. RESULTS: Based on the psychometric properties, three items of the Pandemic Anxiety Scale (PAS) were identified as a single unidimensional factor. The adapted scale demonstrated acceptable internal consistency (α = .79), moderate to high item discrimination, strong positive inter-correlation with two other COVID-19 anxiety scales, and a small positive association with parenting stress. Mothers and fathers did not differ in total scores, t(513)= -.79, p = .42. CONCLUSIONS: Factor analysis suggests that existing COVID-19 related anxiety scales are measuring different latent constructs of anxiety. Furthermore, all scales showed only small to moderate correlations with trait health anxiety, suggesting COVID-19 related anxiety is distinct from general health anxiety. The adapted subscale "disease anxiety" of den Pandemic Anxiety Scale is an economical measure for assessing COVID-19 anxiety in parents. Directions for future research are outlined. CLINICALTRIAL: