The cardiac anxiety questionnaire: development and preliminary validity

Behav Res Ther. 2000 Oct;38(10):1039-53. doi: 10.1016/s0005-7967(99)00132-1.


Heart-focused anxiety (HFA) is the fear of cardiac-related stimuli and sensations because of their perceived negative consequences. Although HFA is common to a wide variety of persons who experience chest pain and distress, it often is unrecognized and misdiagnosed, particularly in cardiology and emergency room patients without and with heart disease. To address these concerns, this article reports on the development and preliminary psychometric evaluation of the Cardiac Anxiety Questionnaire (CAQ) designed to measure HFA. In Study 1, 188 cardiology patients completed the CAQ. Item and factor analyses indicated a three-factor solution pertaining to heart-related fear, avoidance, and attention. Reliability analysis of the 18-item CAQ revealed good internal consistency of the total and subscale scores. In Study 2, 42 patients completed the CAQ and several other anxiety-related questionnaires to assess its convergent and divergent properties. Although preliminary validity results are promising, further psychometric study is necessary to cross-validate the CAQ, examine its test-retest reliability, and confirm the stability of the factor structure. Taken together, the CAQ appears to assess HFA, and may therefore be a useful instrument for identifying patients with elevated HFA without and with heart disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Disease / diagnosis
  • Coronary Disease / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurocirculatory Asthenia / diagnosis*
  • Neurocirculatory Asthenia / psychology
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sick Role
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology