Development of the Self-Efficacy for Tinnitus Management Questionnaire

Document Type


Publication Date



Background: Self-efficacy refers to the beliefs (i.e., confidence) individuals have in their capabilities to perform skills needed to accomplish a specific goal or behavior. Research in the treatment of various health conditions such as chronic pain, balance disorders, and diabetes shows that self-efficacy beliefs play an important role in treatment outcomes and management of the condition. This article focuses on the application of self-efficacy to the management of tinnitus. The first step in formally incorporating self-efficacy in existing treatment regimens or developing a self-efficacy approach for tinnitus treatment is to have a valid and reliable measure available to assess the level of tinnitus self-efficacy.

Purpose: The objective of this study was to develop the Self-Efficacy for Tinnitus Management Questionnaire (SETMQ) and to obtain the psychometric properties of the questionnaire in a group of patients with tinnitus.

Research Design: Observational study.

Study Sample: A total of 199 patients who were enrolled in the Tinnitus Clinic at the James H. Quillen Veterans Affairs Medical Center participated in the current study.

Data Collection and Analysis: The SETMQ was mailed to patients enrolled in the Tinnitus Clinic. The participants who completed one copy of the SETMQ were mailed a second copy to complete approximately 2 weeks later. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted to identify the most coherent subscale structure of the SETMQ. The internal consistency and test‐retest reliability for each of the subscales and the questionnaire as a whole were assessed. The validity of the SETMQ also was evaluated by investigating the relations between the SETMQ and other clinical measures related to tinnitus.

Results: Five components emerged from the factor analysis that explained 75.8% of the variance related to the following areas: (1) routine tinnitus management, (2) emotional response to tinnitus, (3) internal thoughts and interaction with others, (4) tinnitus concepts, and (5) use of assistive devices. Four items failed to load on any factor and were discarded, resulting in 40 items on the final SETMQ. The internal consistency reliability of the overall questionnaire and for each subscale was good (Chronbach's α ranged from .74 to .98). Item-total correlations ranged from .47 to .86, indicating that each item on the SETMQ correlated at a moderate or marked level with the SETMQ aggregate score. Intraclass correlation coefficients were computed to determine the test‐retest reliability of the SETMQ total scale and separately for each subscale, which were all above .80, indicating good test‐retest reliability. Correlations among the SETMQ subscales and various tinnitus-related measures (e.g., Tinnitus Handicap Inventory, tinnitus loudness rating, tinnitus distress rating, etc.) were significant, albeit indicative of fair to good relations overall (range r = ‐.18 to ‐.53).

Conclusions: The results of the current study suggest that the SETMQ is a valid and reliable measure that may be an insightful instrument for clinicians and investigators who are interested in assessing tinnitus self-efficacy. Incorporating self-efficacy principles into tinnitus management would provide clinicians with another formalized treatment option. A self-efficacy approach to treating tinnitus may result in better outcomes compared with approaches not focusing on self-efficacy principles.