IIMS Journal of Management Science
issue front

Sheema Tarab1

First Published 26 Jul 2022. https://doi.org/10.1177/0976030X221111618
Article Information Volume 13, Issue 2 July 2022
Corresponding Author:

Sheema Tarab, Department of Commerce, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh 202002, India.
Email: sheematarab@gmail.com

1 Department of Commerce, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India

Creative Commons Non Commercial CC BY-NC: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-Commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed.


The unprecedented novel coronavirus crisis is innately stressful and raises concerns for fear and low resilience. Amid lockdown, students witnessed a difficult time surviving fear by staying away from their campuses, friends and coping up. As the fear of COVID-19 pandemic was exclusive, it needed to be treated in a similar way. Earlier studies capturing fear pertaining to past epidemics resorted to different measures, but the unique nature of coronavirus demanded a pertinent instrument to measure it. Thus, Ahorsu et al. (2022, Mental Health and Addiction, 20, 1537–1545) developed a unidimensional brief scale to measure COVID-19 fear responses in the Iranian context. The psychometric properties of the scale have been reported in several other cultural context, but not yet in India. The present study aims to check the validity and reliability of the FCV-19 scale developed by Ahorsu et al. (2022) in the Indian context. The sample comprises 264 university students. The results of the Cronbach’s alpha test demonstrate a good internal consistency of the scale in the Indian context. Further, the discriminant validity of FCV-19S was well supported. A confirmatory factor analysis was also run that shows a moderate fit confirming its univariate structure. Therefore, the findings suggest psychometric robustness of FCV-19S among the Indian population.


COVID-19 fear, psychometric evaluation, student in India, reliability test, resilience


The unprecedent COVID-19 crisis has blown uncertainties on almost all dimensions, namely health, education system, economy, relationship dynamics, work, travel and ecology. Amid lockdown and unlock scenarios, resume of essential services and work from home concepts emerged like never. Further, the rescue is confined with precautions that include isolation, social distancing and sanitising almost everything (WHO, 2020). The advent of the pandemic has also drawn several empirical studies that derive attention towards implications not only on the physical well-being but also on emotional as well as psychological well-being of people. For example, the fear of COVID-19 may implicate emotional distress (Shanahan et al., 2020) and elevate concerns for mental well-being (Satici et al., 2020). Such psychological distress may further question the physical health such as neuroinflammations (Kempuraj et al., 2020), sleep disorders or other somatic ailments (Dong & Zheng, 2020; Majumdar et al., 2020). Although, it is noteworthy that studies have not only reported the impact but also recommended the coping mechanism and strategies to overcome the fear (Dawson & Golijani-Moghaddam, 2020; Fernández et al., 2020), some studies correspondingly testified the role of repeated media consumptions in amplifying distress among varied groups (Holmes et al., 2020). A longitudinal study conducted in the USA disclosed a causal linkage of conspiracy beliefs about coronavirus and reluctance to engage in social distancing which indicates that somewhere beliefs of this virus being bioengineered also prevails (Bierwiaczonek et al., 2020). Other studies also reported the socio-demographic comparisons like females suffered a greater psychological impact of the virus (Huang et al., 2020) including those suffering with underlying health problems; it affects people of all ages.

Sudden global lockdown pushed the education system at halt, and since then the physical access to schools and colleges was circumscribed. Majorly, students have been under the stressful impact of this global condition. COVID-19 literature reported issues such as mental well-being (Satici et al., 2020), negative perception of online learning, e-learning crack ups, ineffective e-learning systems, fear of academic year loss (Hasan & Bao, 2020), resource availability and access to learning tools. Learning in an online environment is isolating and tiring in itself. This can become worse during a pandemic like COVID-19 where the rescue from virus is in maintaining social distancing. Owing to such a limitation, teaching and learning were resumed via online mode. On one hand, it is motivating to see the education system recommencing, but, on the other hand, it raises concerns for students’ resilience and rise in fear and anxiety. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) hit the world globally and all countries announced strict quarantine measures, but the scenario seems to be the worst in India due to unplanned conditions in lockdown, undemocratic political decisions during this period, communal disturbance and poor healthcare facilities.

As on 9 March 2021, India stood second at a global level with 11,229,398 confirmed cases (WHO Dashboard, 2021). Initially, during the outbreak, people were expecting to get over with this soon, but the rise in patient’s statistics, conspiracies about virus, reduced interpersonal meetings, failure of some major vaccine trials and worse economic situations exhausted the tolerance of people (BBC, 2020). Presently, in the Indian context, after two years since the outbreak of this pandemic, people are adapting to the ‘new normal’ by abiding all precautions. The situation of Indian healthcare services during COVID-19 have reported paucity of doctors and staff, moreover due to increased spread of the virus people too are reluctant to visit hospitals unless there is a severe emergency. Since the biggest fear in this pandemic is the spread of the virus by coming in contact with the patient and the frequency in people of being asymptomatic was high, therefore people have also inclined toward proactive home care and herbal remedies. Despite all the due care, the uncertainty of the virus has made families very sensitive. Considering the status of fear among students, it was also because the schools and colleges were physically closed, and all students were staying within their homes, and completely under the direct care of their families. Further, the lockdown situation restricts their movement, such paramount care, concerns, and precautions might affect the interest levels, energy, and mood of students, alongside the pressure of online classes may amplify them.

Amid these negative consequences, literature advocated the strength of coping mechanism and inner strength to fight back. Moreover, the pandemic is reverting with different variants from time to time since its inception. Globally, plentiful scholarly studies are in process that are related to coronavirus to understand its impact and magnitude. Referring to the earlier studies capturing fear pertaining to past epidemics had resorted to different measures, but the unique nature of coronavirus demanded a pertinent instrument to measure it. Thus, Ahorsu et al. (2022) had developed a unidimensional brief scale to measure COVID-19 fear responses.

The main aim of this article is to test the validity and reliability of this scale in the Indian context. Different cultural versions of this scale have also been reported, for example, Turkish (Haktanir et al., 2020; Satici et al., 2020), Arabic (Alyami et al., 2020), Spanish (Martínez-Lorca et al., 2020), Japanese (Masuyama et al., 2020), Hebrew (Tzur Bitan et al., 2020), Bengali (Sakib et al., 2020) and Malay (Pang et al., 2020) (see Table A.1). The psychometric reporting of the scale in the Indian context is absent, this study fills in the gap by testifying the validity and reliability of the scale among students in Indian population, also the increasing number of cases in India urges more empirical inquiries, hence the validity of scale will merit incumbent scholarly contributions in this context. The following section will describe the method and procedure adopted in obtaining findings. The following section will describe the method and procedure adopted in obtaining the findings.

Participants and Procedures

A total of 264 students participated in this research study. An online survey was emailed to 400 students currently enrolled in universities (UG and PG courses) in India. The response rate of the survey was 66% that qualified for data analysis. The N:p ratio [sample size ratio to number of variables] of 10:1 (Nunnally, 1975) is thus fulfilled in the study. The participants were asked to provide answers to measures assessing fear of COVID-19 and resilience, along with demographic information including age, gender, enrolled course level (UG or PG) and area from where they are attending classes (rural or urban). All the participants voluntarily gave their informed consent to participate. The sample’s characteristics are shown in Table 1.

Table 1Sample Descriptive Statistics (N = 264)

Source: The author.


Fear of COVID-19 (FCV-19S). The participants responded on a five-point response scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree) for a 7-items FCV-19S scale assessing fear of COVID-19. The scale holds a robust internal consistency (α = 0.82) and test-retest reliability (ICC [Interclass Correlation Coefficient] = 0.72) (Ahorsu et al., 2022). The minimum and maximum scores possible for each question ranged from 7 to 35. Higher score will indicate a greater fear of COVID-19.

Statistical Analysis

Initially, a test of normality was run and kurtosis–skewness values were referred to check normality of the variables under study (Byrne, 2013). The normality criteria for skewness and kurtosis (–1 to +1) were met for a univariate distribution (Muthen & Kaplan, 1992). The reliability of scale was checked with Cronbach’s alpha coefficient to measure its internal consistency, and composite reliability value supports discriminant validity. Further, the model fit was assessed by running a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) using AMOS.22v adopting MLM extraction method. Model adequacy is assessed through values of RMSEA (Root Mean Square Error of Approximation) and SRMR (Standardized Root Mean Square Residual) 0.6, GFI (Goodness of Fit) .90, TLI (Tucker–Lewis Index) NFI (Normed Fit Index); IFI (Incremental Fit Index) and CFI (Comparative Fit Index) .95. Moreover, the convergent validity was assessed by calculating average variance extracted (AVE) values.


Demographic Statistics

The study sample comprises of 264 Indian university students (UG and PG levels). The majority of the respondents, that is, 76.52%, were males (202) and 23.48% were female respondents (62). The mean age of the participants was 21.6 years. Among them, 51.89% were undergraduate students and 48.11% were enrolled for postgraduate courses. Also 70.45% of these participants were attending online classes from urban areas, while only 29.55 % attended classes from rural areas (see Table 1).

Reliability and Validity of Scale

The reliability of instrument in the Indian sample shows a good internal reliability with Cronbach’s alpha coefficient = 0.85, which is considerably a good acceptable alpha value (Tavakol & Dennick, 2011). Further, the composite reliability value is 0.85, which confirms its robust internal consistency. The convergent validity of the FCV-19S was checked by assessing AVE value. The result showed a moderate fit value of AVE = 0.457, which is close to the recommended value of 0.5. Moreover, the obtained inter-item correlation values of all items for FCV-19 scale confirm acceptability criteria of 0.3 (see Table 2).

Table 2Inter-Item Correlation Matrix (N = 264)

Source: The author.

To confirm the structural validity, a CFA was run for a unidimensional FCV-19 original scale, and the results show a modest fit. The obtained results for the univariate structure are chi-square value/df = 92.109/14 (6.58); RMSEA = 0.146, SRMR = 0.08, CFI = 0.89, AGFI = 0.83, GFI = 0.92, TLI = 0.831, IFI = 0.89 and NFI = 0.871 show a low-moderate fit. However, the factor loadings for all 7 items were adequate and above the recommended criteria, that is, >=0.5 (Kaiser, 1974) (see Table 3).


Table 3Descriptive of Item and Psychometric Properties of the FCV-19S

Source: The author.

Note: *Extraction method: Maximum likelihood method (MLM).


The purpose of this article is to test the psychometric properties of FCV-19S to ensure the reliability and validity of scale in the Indian context among the sample of university students. The results of Cronbach’s alpha (α = 0.85) and composite reliability value of (CR = 0.854) showed a good internal consistency which moderately supports the unidimensional structure of the scale in the Indian context. This indicates a good reliability measure in the Indian context.

Moreover, the demographic analysis of the respondent points to high fear perceived by females in comparison to males with a moderate effect size (r) = 0.45. These findings are similar as found in Turkish population (Haktanir et al., 2020). Also, students belonging to urban area perceived higher fear than those living in rural area with a small effect size (r) = 0.2, which indicates that irrespective of gender, the fear of worrying to save life is parallel. The AVE value also showed a moderately good convergent validity. Further, the respondents were university students in the age group of 18–28 years. Generally, their health and psychological situations are healthy otherwise, but during the recent past, they were mainly traumatised by maintaining social distancing, attending online classes, unemployment pressure, hustling with isolation, etc. These results of high anti-correlation between two scales (r = –0.89) strongly responds to the call of seeing quarantine effects on an adolescent’s mental health (Masuyama et al., 2020). In this background, it is equally crucial to appreciate the significance of identifying the coping mechanism and their role in mitigating fear. Future studies should also consider resilience in mediator or moderator role and further to explain the mechanism that acts as a buffer in stressful situations. Also, rigorous online learning may create engagement issues. This can be considered for future studies based on student’s sample. With regard to physical turndown, future studies may consider poor healthcare facilities as a potential moderator in understanding COVID-19 implications on mental health, as urban population is exposed to the harsh reality of such insufficiencies lately.

Moreover, lack of socialising may increase loneliness and anomie in people that tend to generate different emotions such as anger and sadness. Impending research must look into the emotional outburst and regulating mechanism strategies, both at individual and institutional levels, during the second and third waves’ implications on emotional well-being and psychological health. Additionally, forthcoming studies may adopt qualitative methods, for example, in-depth interviews, to understand the cognitive and affective aspects of lockdown, FCV-19 fear and global social and economic slowdown. Also, this study is a cross-sectional, survey design confined with the sample from students, which may limit generalisability; a longitudinal design with hierarchical data collection could also derive consistent insights. A set diverse respondent could be added to enhance the external validity.


The author acknowledges the participant’s response to the survey and the reviewers’ comments for their invaluable inputs.

Declaration of Conflicting Interest

The author declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship and/or publication of this article.


The author received no financial support for the research, authorship and/or publication of this article.


Table A.1Different Cultural Psychometric Evaluations of FCV-19 Scale

Source: The author.

Note: The forward-backward translation method was applied in all versions


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