Assessing dog fear: Evaluating the psychometric properties of the Dog Phobia Questionnaire
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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The Dog Phobia Questionnaire (DPQ; Hong & Zinbarg, 1999) is a 27-item self-report questionnaire designed to assess symptoms of dog phobia. The present study investigated the psychometric properties of the DPQ. METHOD: Study 1 explored the factor structure, internal consistency, and convergent and discriminant validity of the DPQ using an undergraduate sample (N = 174). Study 2 assessed the extent to which DPQ scores correlated with subjective fear ratings and avoidance during a behavioral approach test (BAT) with a live dog using undergraduate and community participants (N = 91), and the extent to which DPQ scores differed for individuals with (n = 15) versus without (n = 66) a clinically significant specific phobia of dogs. Study 3 evaluated the test-retest reliability of the DPQ using an undergraduate sample (N = 31). RESULTS: A principal components exploratory factor analysis suggested a one-factor solution. Internal consistency was high. DPQ scores were more highly correlated with measures assessing dog fear than measures assessing other types of fears. Test-retest reliability was high. DPQ scores correlated with fear responding and avoidance during the BAT. Participants with a specific phobia of dogs reported higher DPQ scores than those without a specific phobia of dogs. LIMITATIONS: The present study included undergraduate students and community participants; future research with a clinical sample is recommended. CONCLUSIONS: The DPQ may be a useful tool for measuring the severity of fear in dog phobic individuals. Implications for the theoretical assumptions underlying the development of the DPQ are discussed.
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