Psychology ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-31-2022


Introduction: Covid-19 has swept the globe and has disproportionately affected the United States with over 600,000 deaths in just over one year. The Centers for Disease Control recommendations for reducing the spread of Covid-19 have focused on physical distancing (PD), the practice of maintaining a distance greater than 6 feet from individuals not in the same household. When employed, this health behavior has been found to reduce the incidence of Covid-19. A review of the measurement literature evaluating PD indicates that PD has been measured at the community level via GPS, using proxy measures of the behavior, or as a construct. These methods can be useful in some situations; however, PD is an observable health behavior and can be reported as such. This study sought to address the issues in measuring PD by creating a new measure of self-reported PD that was: 1) appropriate for individual level measurement, 2) based on participant’s self-report of the behavior of PD, and 3) presented a less ambiguous representation of the self-reported behavior.

Method: Fifty college students from the University of New Mexico were sampled at a single time-point to evaluate the convergent and concurrent validity of the O’Sickey Distancing Test (ODT).

Analysis: To establish convergent validity, individual violations of PD as measured by the ODT were correlated with the Social Distancing Measure (SDM) and participant steps per day using Spearman’s rank correlations and by comparing the correlations between the ODT and the number of participant self-reported steps per day and a measure of social distancing and participant steps per day using Steiger’s t-test of correlated correlations within a sample.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Theresa Moyers PhD

Second Committee Member

Davood Tofghi PhD

Third Committee Member

Bruce Smith PhD

Fourth Committee Member

Brady Horn Phd




Quantitative, Psychometrics, Measure, Assessment, Covid-19, Physical Distancing

Document Type


Included in

Psychology Commons