The purpose of this study was to develop and evaluate the reliability and validity of self-efficacy and intentions measures for time spent in nature (TSN). TSN is related to improvement in psychological well-being and health, yet most American adults spend very little time in such settings. Theory-based interventions have been effective in increasing physical activity, a related behavior, and may be one mechanism to increase TSN. Self-efficacy and intentions have been shown to be strong predictors of health behaviors and are used across several theories. However, scales to measure these factors have not yet been developed and are needed to facilitate effective interventions.
TSN self-efficacy and intentions scales were developed using a sequential nine-step procedure: identification of the domain and item generation; content validity; pre-testing of questions; sampling and survey administration; item reduction; extraction of factors; tests of dimensionality; tests of reliability; and tests of validity. The 14-member multidisciplinary, researcher and practitioner investigative team generated 50 unique items for self-efficacy and 24 unique items for intentions. After subjecting items to content validity and pre-testing, item sets were reduced to 21 assessing self-efficacy and nine assessing intentions. A nationwide sample of 2109 adult participants (49.7% female, Mean Age=58.1; 59.8% White, 18.4% Hispanic, 13.3% Black) answered these items via an on-line survey.
Using split-half measures, principal components analysis indicated a one-factor solution for both scales. The factor structure was upheld in confirmatory factor analyses and had high internal consistency (=.93 self-efficacy; .91 intentions). The scales were moderately correlated with each other (r=.56,
p<.001) and were strongly related to TSN with large effect sizes (eta2>.20). Conclusions
The study resulted in reliable and valid self-efficacy (14 items) and intentions (8 items) scales that can be used to develop future theory-based interventions to increase TSN and thereby improve population health.