British Journal of Health Psychology

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Development and validation of the Health Visual Information Preference Scale

Objective Patients are likely to have individual preferences for learning about health, which may influence their comprehension and utilization of health information. Some patients may prefer visual health information, which can make complex health information easier to understand. Aligning health information presentation with preferences may increase understanding and improve health outcomes, yet no scale measures preferences for visual health information. Design Two studies examined the psychometric properties of the Health Visual Information Preference Scale (Health VIPS), a new measure designed to assess preferences for visual health information. Methods In Study 1, 103 undergraduate students and 97 patients undergoing colorectal and gynaecological oncology surgery completed the Health VIPS. Exploratory factor analyses (EFA) were conducted for both samples. Internal consistency, test–retest reliability, and validity were assessed in the student sample. In Study 2, 196 outpatients completed the Health VIPS. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was performed on this sample, in addition to measures of reliability and validity. Results In Study 1, EFA analysis suggested a two‐factor structure. The Health VIPS demonstrated good internal consistency in both the student sample (α = .70–.80) and patient sample (α = .80), and good test–retest reliability in the student sample (r = .63, p < .001). Convergent validity and discriminant validity were also established. In Study 2, the CFA confirmed a two‐factor structure is the best model fit for the Health VIPS. The Health VIPS also demonstrated discriminant and convergent validity. Scale item means in all samples were positively skewed, suggesting a general preference for visual health information. Conclusions Initial evidence suggests the Health VIPS has good psychometric properties. This scale could identify patients who would benefit from additional visual aids when receiving health information. Statement of contribution What is already known on this subject? Poor comprehension of health information can lead to misunderstandings of illness and treatment, and potentially non‐adherence. It is likely that patients have distinct preferences for how they would choose to receive health information, including information format. Visual health information is becoming more widely used to communicate information about health and illness to patients, although there is no measure to identify those who prefer this information format to standard written health materials. What does this study add? This study describes the first scale to assess preferences for visual health information. This scale could identify patients who would benefit from supplementary visual information in consultations.

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