Psychometric properties of a measure to assess beliefs about modifiable behavior and emotional distressedit
Assessing beliefs about the helpfulness of modifiable behaviors related to mental health could inform public health efforts to prevent emotional distress. This study examined the psychometric properties of a measure to assess beliefs about the helpfulness of modifiable behaviors involved in the development of anxiety and depression. The relationship between beliefs about modifiable behaviors and actual engagement in modifiable behaviors was also examined. Item pool generation was based on a review of the literature. Experts (N = 10) and participants (N = 50) reviewed the items for content validity. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted on the resultant Beliefs about Behaviors and Emotional Distress Scale (BBEDS) for item reduction in a sample of MTurk participants (Study 1, N = 371). A confirmatory factor analysis was completed in a second MTurk sample (Study 2, N = 373). Construct validity was then examined in a sample of college students (Study 3, N = 215). The questionnaire included 16 items across four domains: health behavior (0.77 ≤ α ≤ 0.84), social support (0.72 ≤ α ≤ 0.76), substance use (0.75 ≤ α ≤ 0.76), and avoidance (0.81 ≤ α ≤ 0.83). The BBEDS had adequate psychometric properties supporting its use to assess beliefs about the helpfulness of modifiable behaviors related to the development of emotional distress. BBEDS scores were associated with engaging in some but not all modifiable behaviors. The BBEDS may be a useful instrument to assess beliefs about the helpfulness of modifiable behaviors implicated in the development of anxiety and depression.