Validation of the Pandemic Emotional Impact Scale

Sarah Ballou, Olafur S. Palsson, Sarah Gray
Objective The COVID-19 pandemic represents the most universal shared stressor for the general United States (U.S) population in many decades. Due to the unprecedented circumstances of COVID-19, no existing questionnaires can comprehensively measure the multi-faceted psychological effects attributable to this health crisis. This study aimed to validate a measure for that purpose. Methods A 16-item questionnaire, the Pandemic Emotional Impact Scale (PEIS), was designed and subjected to initial
more » ... idation in an internet survey completed by a nationally representative sample of 1500 adults living in the U.S. This survey was completed between May 18 and May 30, 2020, during the height of the pandemic's impact on society. Results The PEIS demonstrated excellent internal consistency (Cronbach's α ​= ​0.94) and Guttman split-half reliability (0.95). Exploratory factor analysis suggested two sub-scales -- emotional impact and pragmatic worries -- but these were highly correlated with the overall scale score suggesting that the total score can be used in most cases. The PEIS demonstrated good concurrent validity via robust positive correlations with anxiety, depression and stress, and negative correlations with quality of life and happiness. Criterion validity was supported by the finding that individuals who reported employment loss or loss of income due to the pandemic, had experienced COVID-19 infection in their household, or knew somebody personally who died from the pandemic, had elevated scores on the PEIS. Conclusions The PEIS questionnaire is a reliable and valid instrument that addresses a significant unmet need for a research instrument that can comprehensively measure pandemic-related effects on the emotional wellbeing of individuals in the U.S population.
doi:10.17615/yxq0-q924 fatcat:l2o7wsesf5cz5h4qmnb3kmwn6m