Cyberchondria is defined as an increase in anxiety about one's health status as a result of excessive online searches. McElroy and Shevlin (2014) developed the first multidimensional, self-report measure of this construct-the Cyberchondria Severity Scale (CSS). The CSS consists of 33 items which can be summed to form a total score, and/or 5 subscale scores. The aim of the present study was to develop a short-form version of the CSS, removing the "Mistrust" subscale. Participants were undergraduate students from two UK universities (N = 661, 73% female, M age = 22.19 years, SD = 5.88). Students completed the CSS, Short Health Anxiety Inventory (SHAI) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder Assessment (GAD-7). Twelve items were chosen for retention in the short form based on an exploratory factor analysis. These items corresponded to the four factors previously identified in the 33-item scale (minus the "Mistrust" subscale). Confirmatory factor analysis was used to validate the structure of the CSS-12. Confirmatory bifactor modeling indicated that the majority of item covariance was accounted for by a general cyberchondria factor. Construct validity was assessed by examining associations with the SHAI and GAD-7, with stronger correlations observed between the CSS-12 and the SHAI (compared with the GAD-7). The CSS-12 is a brief, reliable, and valid measure of worry/anxiety attributable to excessive online health research.
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- Cyberchondria, health anxiety, self-diagnosis, general anxiety
- health anxiety,
- general anxiety
- health anxiety