Assessing youth vaping expectancies using a psychometrically sound measure can improve understanding of e-cigarette susceptibility and use.
We evaluated the psychometric properties of the Short-Form Vaping Consequences Questionnaire (SF-VCQ), an expectancy measure previously validated with adults, within a sample of 1,753 high school adolescents who completed an online, school-based survey in Fall 2020 (51.6% female; 15.56[1.22] years old; 46.6% non-Hispanic white; 26.9% reported lifetime but no past-30-day vaping; 12.6% reported past-30-day vaping). Analyses included confirmatory factor analysis, internal consistency, measurement invariance, between-group differences, and test-criterion relationships.
The 4-factor structure was confirmed and was scalar invariant by lifetime and past-month vaping status, sex, and race. All subscales were internally reliable (mean α=0.94). The subscales were sensitive to differences based on sex, race, vaping susceptibility among never users, and lifetime and past-month vaping status. For example, students who vaped in the past-month held weaker expectancies for negative consequences but stronger expectancies for positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, and appetite/weight control compared to lifetime vapers. Unadjusted relationships within the subsamples of lifetime and past-month vapers provided evidence of convergent validity. Evidence for concurrent validity was observed for all samples after accounting for covariates. For example, expectancies for positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, and appetite/weight control remained significantly associated with past-month vaping frequency.
The SF-VCQ evidenced excellent internal reliability, scalar measurement invariance, and construct, convergent, and concurrent validity in samples of never, lifetime, and past-month adolescent e-cigarette users. Findings support using the SF-VCQ for assessing youths’ vaping-related expectancies.
The current study established the psychometric properties of the SF-VCQ for use among adolescents with and without vaping experience, including measurement invariance that permits direct comparisons of expectancies across these two groups. When considered in concert with previously published research in adults, the SF-VCQ provides researchers with a measure that can be used with both youth and adult samples. Observed relationships between positive expectancies and vaping susceptibility in vaping naïve youth and indices of vaping frequency in youth with vaping experience suggest that challenging positive expectancies may be a valuable addition to prevention and intervention efforts to reduce youth vaping.