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Abstract

The present study is based on the assumption that health habits assessment can make a significant contribution to our understanding of physical and psychological well-being. Thus, the purpose of this study was to develop an easily administered, conceptually sound, and psychometrically adequate health habits scale for use in nursing and health research. A self-report scale consisting of 5 positive health items and 5 negative items was administered initially to a sample of more than 1500 American adults. Subsamples of this group were used in various psychometric evaluations of the scale. A second sample of more than 700 college and noncollege adults also completed the new health habits scale and a number of additional inventories thought to be related conceptually to the new scale. In general, the health scale showed high content validity, good agreement between self- and other-ratings, strong test—retest reliability, and consistent evidence of concurrent and divergent validity. The strengths of the scale are its inclusion of both disease-preventive and health-promoting behaviors, its brevity, and its psychometric development.