Measurement of Theoretical Constructs for Health Behavior

Issues in Selecting and Developing Measures

  • Colleen A. Redding University of Rhode Island
  • Jay E. Maddock University of Hawaii
  • Joseph S. Rossi University of Rhode Island


Measurement theory and practice defines how well we can measure the most important constructs in the health behavior field. This article reviews the sequential process of measurement development that builds upon both theory and evidence, as well as building toward the future of measurement development. Some basic measurement theory and concepts are reviewed, including types of reliability and validity. The process of scale development and selection is described in some detail with clear advise for choosing measures and criteria for selecting items and scales. Finally two different examples of theory-based measurement development are described in detail: one of an alcohol expectancy scale grounded in Social Learning Theory, and the other of scales assessing confidence in remaining quit and temptation to smoke, grounded in the Transtheoretical model conceptualization of self efficacy. These examples illustrate two different ways that measurement development efforts can produce good scales, with different strengths. Finally, some future directions for the field are discussed within the context of health behavior measurement.

How to Cite
Redding, C. A., Maddock, J. E., & Rossi, J. S. (2006). Measurement of Theoretical Constructs for Health Behavior: Issues in Selecting and Developing Measures. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 4(1), 83-101.

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