Assessing Safety Behaviors in Fear of Storms: Validation of the Storm-Related Safety Behavior Scale

  • Kirstyn L. Krause
  • Emma M. MacDonald
  • Alasdair M. Goodwill
  • Valerie Vorstenbosch
  • Martin M. AntonyEmail author


With the exception of one self-report questionnaire assessing storm fear severity (Nelson et al. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 36(1), 105–114, 2014), there are few brief published assessment tools to measure the cognitive, behavioral, and physical manifestations of storm fear. A principal feature of phobic disorders is the use of safety behaviors to alleviate distress. Safety behaviors are believed to perpetuate anxiety by preventing the disconfirmation of feared outcomes (Salkovskis Behavioural Psychotherapy, 19(1), 6–19, 1991). To date, no studies have examined the use of safety behaviors in storm fear. The purpose of the current research was to develop and validate the Storm-Related Safety Behavior Scale (SRSBS; Vorstenbosch and Antony 2017), a 24-item self-report scale that measures safety behavior use in adults with a fear of storms. Two studies examined the (1) factor structure, internal consistency, validity, and test-retest reliability of the SRSBS, as well as the frequency with which specific safety behaviors were endorsed; and (2) ability of the SRSBS to differentiate between a group of adults with low and high fear of storms after exposure to a virtual thunderstorm. Factor analysis revealed that the SRSBS is best captured by one factor. Results provided preliminary evidence of convergent and discriminant validity, as well as test-retest reliability. Finally, significant group differences were found between participants with high versus low fear of storms following a virtual thunderstorm. These findings demonstrate the value of the SRSBS for assessing safety behavior use.


Phobia Storm Fear Safety behavior Measurement Factor analysis Virtual reality 



Thank you to Kesla Forsythe for assistance with data collection.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Kirstyn L. Krause, Emma M. MacDonald, Alasdair Goodwill, Valerie Vorstenbosch and Martin M. Antony declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards and were approved by the University’s Research Ethics Board.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kirstyn L. Krause
    • 1
  • Emma M. MacDonald
    • 2
  • Alasdair M. Goodwill
    • 1
  • Valerie Vorstenbosch
    • 3
  • Martin M. Antony
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyRyerson UniversityTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Community Mental Health and AddictionsIWK Health CentreHalifaxCanada
  3. 3.Eating Disorders ProgramHomewood Health CentreGuelphCanada

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