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Validation of the Chinese version of the Health Cognitions Questionnaire in Chinese college students

Authors Dai L, Xu Z, Yin M, Wang X, Deng Y

Received 1 April 2019

Accepted for publication 14 June 2019

Published 5 July 2019 Volume 2019:15 Pages 1845—1854


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Yuping Ning

Lisha Dai,1 Zan Xu,2 Meng Yin,1 Xiang Wang,1 Yunlong Deng1,3

1Clinical Psychology Department, The Third Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan 410013, People’s Republic of China; 2Student Affairs Department, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan 410000, People’s Republic of China; 3Psychosomatic Health Institute, The Third Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan 410013, People’s Republic of China

Purpose: The cognitive behavioral model is considered the most comprehensive for explaining the pathogenesis of health anxiety (HA). The model proposes 4 dysfunctional beliefs that play a vital role in developing and sustaining HA: a) the likelihood of contracting or having an illness, b) awfulness of the illness, c) difficulty coping with illness, and d) inadequacy of medical services. The Health Cognitions Questionnaire (HCQ), widely used in English populations, was developed for assessing these core cognitions. As HA is a growing problem in China, we translated the HCQ into a Chinese version (CHCQ) and examined its psychometric properties. These core cognitions were compared among individuals with and without medical conditions.
Methods: A set of questionnaires that included the CHCQ and the Short Health Anxiety Inventory (SHAI) was used to gather data from 1,319 Chinese college students. After 4 weeks, 145 of the students completed the CHCQ again. The validity, reliability, and measurement invariance were evaluated among individuals with various medical conditions.
Results: The final CHCQ included 19 items. A 4-factor structure was well suited to the data. Good internal consistency (Cronbach’s α for total score was 0.849, subscales ranged from 0.753 to 0.841), test–retest reliability (the interclass correlation coefficient for total score was 0.762, subscales ranged from 0.626 to 0.683), and criterion validity of the CHCQ were demonstrated. Measurement and structural invariance were established. Individuals with a diagnosed disease scored higher on the likelihood-of-illness subscale (Cohen’s d =0.22, p < 0.01) than those without an illness.
Conclusion: The CHCQ shows promise for the assessment of 4 core HA-related cognitions in the Chinese population.

Keywords: health anxiety, dysfunctional beliefs, health cognitions, cognitive behavioral model

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