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Health Psychol. 1999 Mar;18(2):169-76.

Assessment of irrational health beliefs: relation to health practices and medical regimen adherence.

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Department of Psychology, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242, USA.

Erratum in

  • Health Psychol 1999 May;18(3):220.


The purpose of the present research was to provide initial validation of the 20-item Irrational Health Belief Scale (IHBS). Study 1 included 392 undergraduate psychology students. Results from Study 1 suggested that the IHBS total score is internally consistent and stable over an 18-month time period. Greater health-related cognitive distortion (higher IHBS scores) was associated with weaker internal health locus of control beliefs, lower positive affectivity, stronger chance health locus of control beliefs, and greater negative affectivity. Most important, greater cognitive distortion was uniquely and significantly associated with a less positive pattern of health practices. Study 2 involved 107 individuals with Type I diabetes mellitus. Results indicated that higher IHBS scores were significantly associated with both objective (hemoglobin HbA1) and self-reported diabetic regimen adherence independent of trait neuroticism and conscientiousness.

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