Psychometric Analysis of the Life Worries Scale for a New Generation of Sexual Minority Men: The P18 Cohort Study

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Abstract

Objective: Sexual minority men (SMM) in the United States continue to experience adverse health problems and psychosocial burdens. However, there is limited psychometric research seeking to quantify the life worries of this population. Informed by syndemic theory, the Life Worries Scale (LWS) was developed to measure the concerns of young SMM. Method: Analyses of the scale were undertaken using baseline data (n = 665) from an ongoing cohort study of emerging adult, SMM. Results: Exploratory factor analyses (EFA) of an initial set of 24 Likert-type items, followed by confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and an exploratory structural equation model (ESEM), indicated a structure consisting of 6 domains of worries: financial stability, social stability, self esteem, loneliness, physical appearance, and physical health. These 6 subscales were highly correlated and also demonstrated high levels of internal consistency. Differences in life worries were noted across demographic states, specifically HIV serostatus, sexual attraction, housing status, and self-rated health. High levels of association were also detected between all 6 subscales with both depression and PTSD, while significant correlations were detected between suicidality and both self esteem and loneliness related worries. Conclusions: The results of our analyses provide evidence for the strong psychometric characteristics of the LWS. This newly developed instrument should be utilized in research to examine the extent to which life worries explain health outcomes and risk behaviors in sexual minority males, and may be potentially extended for use in other populations.

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