Validity of the visual analogue scale as an instrument to measure self-efficacy in resuscitation skills

Med Educ. 2008 May;42(5):503-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2923.2007.02950.x. Epub 2008 Mar 12.


Context: Self-efficacy is an important factor in many areas of medical education, including self-assessment and self-directed learning, but has been little studied in resuscitation training, possibly because of the lack of a simple measurement instrument.

Objective: We aimed to assess the validity of a visual analogue scale (VAS) linked to a single question as an instrument to measure self-efficacy with respect to resuscitation skills by comparing the VAS with a questionnaire and using known-groups comparisons.

Methods: We developed questionnaires to measure self-efficacy for a number of resuscitation tasks and for computer skills. These were compared with VASs linked to a single question per task, using a multi-trait, multi-method matrix. We also used known-groups comparisons of self-efficacy in specific professional groups.

Results: There was good correlation between the questionnaires and the VASs for self-efficacy for specific resuscitation tasks. There was a less clear correlation for self-efficacy for paediatric resuscitation overall. There was no correlation between self-efficacy for resuscitation and computer tasks. In specific professional groups, measured self-efficacy accorded with theoretical predictions.

Conclusions: A VAS linked to a single question appears to be a valid method of measuring self-efficacy with respect to specific well defined resuscitation tasks, but should be used with caution for multi-faceted tasks.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesiology / education
  • Anesthesiology / standards
  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Education, Medical, Continuing / methods*
  • Netherlands
  • Pediatric Nursing / education
  • Pediatric Nursing / standards
  • Pediatrics / education*
  • Pediatrics / standards
  • Resuscitation / standards*
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*