The Fear of COVID-19 Scale: Development and initial validation

Daniel Kwasi AHORSU, Chung-Ying LIN, Vida IMANI, Mohsen SAFFARI, Mark D. GRIFFITHS, Amir H. PAKPOUR

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Background: 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. 

Methods: 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. 

Results: 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). 

Conclusion: 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. Copyright © 2020 The Author(s).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1537-1545
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health and Addiction
Early online dateMar 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


Ahorsu, D. K., Lin, C.-Y., Imani, V., Saffari, M., Griffiths, M. D., & Pakpour, A. H. (2022). The Fear of COVID-19 Scale: Development and initial validation. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 20, 1537-1545. doi: 10.1007/s11469-020-00270-8


  • COVID-19
  • Fear
  • Iran
  • Psychometrics
  • Fear of COVID-19 Scale


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