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The Measurement of Threat Orientations

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Objective: To develop measures of 3 threat orientations that affect responses to health behavior messages. Method: In Study 1, college students (N = 47) completed items assessing threat orientations and health behaviors. In Study 2, college students and community adults (N = 110) completed the threat orientation items and measures of convergent and discriminant validity. Results: In Study 1, the control-based, denial-based, and heightened-sensitivity-based threat orientation scales demonstrated good internal consistency and correlated with engagement in health behaviors. In Study 2, the convergent and discriminant validity of the 3 measures was established. Conclusion: The 3 scales have good internal reliability and construct validity.

Keywords: control; denial; health behaviors; reactions to threat

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, Pomona College, Claremont CA. 2: Department of Psychology, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA. 3: Department of Psychology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA.

Publication date: March 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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