Item response theory analysis of the Fear of COVID-19 Scale (FCV-19S): a systematic review

Alimoradi, Z., Lin, C.-Y., Ullah, I., Griffiths, M.D. ORCID: 0000-0001-8880-6524 and Pakpour, A.H., 2022. Item response theory analysis of the Fear of COVID-19 Scale (FCV-19S): a systematic review. Psychology Research and Behavior Management, 15, pp. 581-596. ISSN 1179-1578

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Background: The COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing and is not yet under control. Evidence regarding the impacts of COVID-19 on psychological distress has been widely reported worldwide, and one of the primary concerns regarding psychological distress is fear (ie, fear of COVID-19). Therefore, having a robust instrument for assessing fear of COVID-19 is important. The present systematic review aimed to synthesize the psychometric evidence evaluated using item response theory (IRT) on the Fear of COVID-19 Scale (FCV-19S).

Methods: Utilizing the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, four academic databases (Scopus, PubMed Central, ProQuest, and ISI Web of Knowledge) were used to search target papers. Keywords used for search were “Fear of COVID-19 Scale” and its abbreviation (ie, “FCV-19S”) and IRT-related terms. The COnsensus-based Standards for the selection of health status Measurement INstruments (COSMIN) checklist was then applied to evaluate the methodological quality of the reviewed papers. Moreover, psychometric properties using IRT methods were synthesized using a qualitative method.

Results: The initial search resulted in 552 papers (73 duplicates) and 479 were screened based on their titles and abstracts. Finally, 16 papers were included for review regarding their methodological quality (via COSMIN) to synthesize the psychometric evidence for FCV-19S. The 16 papers included 21 countries with 16 language versions of FCV-19S.

Conclusion: All the psychometric evidence indicated that the seven items in the FCV-19S fit with the concept of fear. The FCV-19S is a strong and valid instrument for assessing fear across different languages. The seven items in the FCV-19S appear to be unidimensional in assessing fear, which indicates that all items are necessary in the FCV-19S.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Psychology Research and Behavior Management
Creators: Alimoradi, Z., Lin, C.-Y., Ullah, I., Griffiths, M.D. and Pakpour, A.H.
Publisher: Dove Medical Press
Date: 8 March 2022
Volume: 15
ISSN: 1179-1578
Rights: © 2022 Alimoradi et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms (
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 08 Mar 2022 14:07
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2022 14:07

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