Measurement in health psychology: combining theory, qualitative, and quantitative methods to do it right (Sixth Methods in Health Psychology Symposium)

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Description: Recent publications and conference contributions evidence rapid developments in the theory and measurement of health psychology constructs. The current symposium brings together five such innovations, combining theory and methods from qualitative and quantitative traditions to provide a broad overview of the state of the art, limitations of current practices, and options for improvement. Moreover, the symposium aims to give its attendants practical guidelines to apply these insights. Such guidelines are timely because although many advances have been made in the theory and measurement of health psychology constructs, these have not yet been widely implemented in research practice, partly due to the limited awareness regarding the accessibility of innovative approaches. This symposium aims to remedy this problem. First, Gjalt-Jorn Peters will present a novel perspective on the nature and inter-relations of psychological variables and implications for their measurement. Anne Marie Plass will introduce tools to explore and improve inadequate aspects of an operationalization using Cognitive Interviewing, pointing out some serious problems with common assumptions about validity along the way. Rik Crutzen will then present current practices in validation of a measurement instrument that operationalises a psychological variable and how to improve this. Alexandra Dima will demonstrate an accessible stepwise procedure that leverages psychometric techniques to improve the understanding and operationalization of psychological constructs. Chris Gibbons will then introduce computer adaptive testing using Concerto, an open source system based on the flexible R and mySQL platforms, and its benefits for health psychology research. Finally, Frank Doyle will lead the discussion about how these insights can be implemented in practice to improve the standard of measurement in health psychology. These presentations and the concluding discussion will be directed at proposing guidelines for authors and reviewers in health psychology, to facilitate the wider implementation of available innovations for improving measurement in health psychology.

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