Health Behaviour Questionnaire-Wherefore art thou?

I toiled. I thought ‘surely not?!’ It has to be my literature searching skills; my Boolean phrases must have bombed. Then, I took my frustration and went to fellow the health psychology group here at NUIG with one request- please help me find a measure of health behaviours! And so the head scratching began.

For whatever reason, to my knowledge, there is not yet a measure of self-reported general health behaviours. This is startling given the goals of Health Psychology and the strong emphasis on evidence-based interventions. Sure, there are measures of physical activity, some questions about fruit and vegetable intake, but where is there a measure which has been published in a peer reviewed journal? This has meant that many researchers have to develop their own measure to assess health behaviours and health behaviour change or turn to instruments which only look at some relevant behaviour, and others that still await further development and psychometric testing.

Is this due to the acceptance that perhaps there is never going to be a gold-standard measurement tool? That looking at these discrete variables may be enough? I can see both of these arguments, however I think that developing a tool as a useful benchmark through best practice guidelines is an important step, particularly given the recent surge research into health behaviour change and the nuts and bolts behind that change (i.e., behaviour change techniques and the behaviour change taxonomy).

What’s the next step if you agree?

I am currently trying to gather information to develop a measure of health behaviour change that is user-friendly for both researchers and participants. In line with best practice guidelines, I want to generate an exhaustive list of health behaviour related questions (e.g., I eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day) from the literature and from experts (psst!…that’s you!). This will produce an extensive list of items which will then be further explored using all the statsy good stuff (i.e., exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis). These are the first few steps on scale development and pave the way for further reliability and validity testing.

Join us! Give it a go and have your say!

Generate a list of items which you think should be included in a Health Behaviour Measure to aid psychometric development and validation of a measure of Health Behaviours.


1 Comment

  1. Hi there! Really enjoying the blog 🙂 One of my students was looking for something in the same vein very recently, and we settled on using a coping questionnaire (recommended by a clinical psychologist, who uses it with his own patients), which taps into maladaptive health behaviours, such as smoking, overeating, etc., categorising such behaviours as maladaptive. Might be worth exploring further…


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