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Fear of illness & virus evaluation (FIVE) COVID-19 scales for children-parent/caregiver-report development and validation.



Commonly-used youth anxiety measures may not comprehensively capture fears, worries, and experiences related to the pervasive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This study described the development of the Fear of Illness and Virus Evaluation (FIVE) scales and validated the caregiver-report version.


After initial development, feedback was obtained from clinicians and researchers, who provided suggestions on item content/wording, reviewed edits, and provided support for the updated FIVE's content and face validity. Factor structure, measurement invariance, and psychometric properties were analyzed using data from a multi-site, longitudinal study of COVID-19-related effects on family functioning with 1599 caregivers from the United States and Canada.


Confirmatory factor analyses indicated a hierarchical five-factor structure best fit the data, resulting in a 31-item measure with four lower-order subscales: (1) Fears about Contamination and Illness; (2) Fears about Social Distancing, (3) Avoidance Behaviors, and (4) Mitigation Behaviors, and a higher-order factor, (5) Total Fears, indicated by the two fear-related lower-order subscales. Measurement invariance by country of residence, child age, and child sex was found. All subscales demonstrated strong internal consistency, appropriate item-scale discrimination, and no floor or ceiling effects. The Total Fears subscale demonstrated appropriate test-retest reliability. Concurrent validity supported by strong correlation with a youth anxiety measure.


The FIVE provides a psychometrically-sound measure of COVID-19-related fears and behaviors in youth in a caregiver-report format. Future research is necessary to evaluate correlates and longitudinal symptom patterns captured by the FIVE caregiver-report, as well as the validity and reliability of a youth self-report version of the FIVE.

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