The Factor Structure of the Illness Attitude Scales in A German Population

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Abstract

Background

The illness attitudes scales (IAS) were developed to identify different dimensions of hypochondrical attitudes, fears, beliefs, and abnormal illness behavior (Kellner 1986). Although there are several studies which focus on the scale structure of the IAS, the factor structure has not yet been made quite clear.

Purpose

Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the factor structure of the IAS on a large representative sample.

Method

Participants (N = 1,575) comparable with the general German population regarding sex, age, and education level completed the IAS. For the data analyses, a principal components analyses with subsequent oblique rotations was used.

Results

The minimum average partial method suggested a three-factor solution. The three factors were named (1) health anxiety, (2) health behavior, and (3) health habits. Internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha) for the three scales were (1) α = 0.88, (2) α = 0.75, and (3) α = 0.56.

Conclusion

The results support previous findings, namely that the IAS factor structure appears to be less complex than originally suggested by the author. For a sample of the general German population, a three-factor solution fit best. Further items should be added to improve the internal consistency, especially for the third scale (health habits).

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