A Self-Report Scale to Measure "Perceived Vulnerability to Disease"

1.      It really bothers me when people sneeze without covering their mouths.

2.      If an illness is 'going around', I will get it.

3.      I am comfortable sharing a water bottle with a friend. (R)

4.      I don't like to write with a pencil someone else has obviously chewed on.

5.      My past experiences make me believe I am not likely to get sick even when my friends are sick. (R)

6.      I have a history of susceptibility to infectious diseases.

7.      I prefer to wash my hands pretty soon after shaking someone's hand.

8.      In general, I am very susceptible to colds, flu, and other infectious diseases.

9.      I dislike wearing used clothes because you don't know what the past person who wore it was like.

10.  I am more likely than the people around me to catch an infectious disease.

11.  My hands do not feel dirty after touching money. (R)

12.  I am unlikely to catch a cold, flu, or other illness, even if it is going around. (R)

13.  It does not make me anxious to be around sick people. (R)

14.  My immune system protects me from most illnesses that other people get. (R)

15.  I avoid using public telephones because of the risk that I may catch something from the previous user.


 Response format:  1 = Strongly Disagree ... 7 = Strongly Agree

(R) = Reverse scored

Subscale 1 (Perceived Infectability):  Items 2, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14

Subscale 2 (Germ Aversion):  Items 1, 3, 4, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15



Duncan, L. A., Schaller, M., & Park, J. H. (2009).  Perceived vulnerability to disease: Development and validation of a 15-item self-report instrument.  Personality and Individual Differences, 47, 541-546.

A copy of the Duncan, Schaller, & Park article is available here.