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.
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Thank you to Kesla Forsythe for assistance with data collection.
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.
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 was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
Storm-Related Safety Behavior Scale
© 2017 Valerie Vorstenbosch and Martin M. Antony. Reprinted with permission from the authors
Below is a list of behaviors that are sometimes used by people to cope with a fear of thunderstorms. Please read each item carefully and select the option that applies to you, in general.
0 = I NEVER do this to manage a fear of storms
1 = I RARELY do this to manage a fear of storms
2 = I SOMETIMES do this to manage a fear of storms
3 = I USUALLY do this to manage a fear of storms
4 = I ALWAYS do this to manage a fear of storms
During a typical thunderstorm in the past year, how much/often did you do the following to manage a fear of storms:
_______ frequently and repeatedly check weather reports to see if bad weather is expected
_______ stay indoors on days when bad weather is expected
_______ avoid being alone when bad weather is expected
_______ stay in a protected room (e.g., a basement) during a storm
_______ restrict myself to rooms without windows during a storm
_______ close the curtains during storms
_______ stay away from windows during a storm
_______ avoid driving during bad weather
_______ distract myself (e.g., by listening to music, watching television) during storms
_______ avoid talking on the telephone during a storm
_______ avoid using electronic appliances (e.g., television, computer) during a storm
_______ cancel plans when bad weather is expected
_______ leave work, school, or appointments early when bad weather is expected
_______ repeat positive statements (e.g., “I am going to be safe”) during storms
_______ ask others for reassurance that the storm is not dangerous
_______ stock up on supplies (e.g., water, food, batteries) when bad weather is expected
_______ avoid using water (e.g., showering, washing dishes) during a storm
_______ frequently call friends and family during a storm to determine their safety
_______ avoid outdoor leisure activities (e.g., camping, boating, hiking) for fear that bad weather will occur
_______ keep emergency radio on during storms
_______ avoid leaving home on days when bad weather is expected
_______ wear protective gear when I go outside during a storm
_______ watch the sky or clouds on days when the weather is bad
_______ frequently and repeatedly look out the window to check the weather conditions
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Krause, K.L., MacDonald, E.M., Goodwill, A.M. et al. Assessing Safety Behaviors in Fear of Storms: Validation of the Storm-Related Safety Behavior Scale. J Psychopathol Behav Assess 40, 139–148 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10862-017-9622-x
- Safety behavior
- Factor analysis
- Virtual reality