The Fatalism Scale is a valid and reliable instrument for measuring fatalistic beliefs about health. However, no previous studies have been conducted to verify its psychometric properties across different populations and, most importantly, during a public health emergency. Hence, this study aimed to examine the factorial structure, reliability, construct validity, and accuracy of measurement of the Fatalism Scale during the COVID-19 pandemic among Italian-speaking people. The total sample was comprised of 300 participants. Both exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were performed. Construct validity was estimated by comparing fatalism scores with two theoretically-related constructs (i.e., optimism, locus of control). The test information function was analyzed to evaluate the accuracy of measurement based on item response theory (IRT). Differences in fatalism scores across gender were examined by performing MANOVAs. Results show a four-factor model: Luck, Powerlessness, Predetermination, and Pessimism with adequate fit indices and satisfactory internal consistency. Data support the expected relationships between fatalism subscales and related measures. The test information function and standard error curve provide the largest amount of information around q= zero and two standard deviations above the mean in the latent trait. Significant differences across gender are observed in Luck and Pessimism subscales. Our study suggests that the Fatalism Scale is a valuable tool for assessing fatalism during an acute health crisis among Italian-speaking people. This instrument might be useful for assessing fatalism during future waves of the COVID-19 pandemic and other public health crises.
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