Test Construction Manual:

Fear of Missing Out in the Workplace 

Project Description

This test manual documents the detailed process of the creating and validating the Fear of Missing Out in the Workplace (FOMOW) scale. Fear of missing out (FOMO) can be defined as a social construct relating to the lack of accessibility to new information. Along with the help of four colleagues, we examined FOMO through an organizational lens, to define FOMOW and create a validated scale. The methodology is defined, and all analyses are presented. 

Test Preparation and Specification

A thorough literature review on FOMO helped us to define the construct of FOMOW as:

An omnipresent sense of anxiety attributed to an irrational dear or missing out on a work experience that has perceived positive implications for professional development. This feeling causes an individual to engage in a wise spectrum of impulsive behaviors in an attempt to stay connected with the workplace.

Through an extensive review of related constructs, the following underlying dimensions were identified: 

  1. Loss Aversion- A decision-making process that places more weight on losses than gains to guide decisions. 

  2. Type A Behavior Pattern- An action-emotion complex causing a person to continuously struggle to achieve more and more in less and less time, regardless of conflicting efforts by other people or other things. 

  3. Workplace Anxiety- A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. 

Test Development & Subject Matter Experts

The underlying dimensions were used to draft 48 items. Each individual item was reviewed, and the result was a 33-item initial survey that was distributed to six subject matter experts (SMEs). The six SMEs that were chosen all had expertise in either FOMO, or one of the three underlying dimensions. The experts rated each of the items on their relevance and validity. Only 18 items were found to meet the rating criteria that we established. 

Survey Distribution and Data Analysis

An anonymous web-based survey was created using the 18 items described above, along with items from validated scales that measure the 3 dimensions. The survey was completed by 171 participants who were currently or recently employed. Incomplete entires were removed before commencing analyses, which reduced the number of complete responses to 110. I conducted an Exploratory Factor Analysis using SPSS software, and found that FOMOW does not have 3 underlying dimensions, but is actually one single dimension, which I refer to as "hyper ambitiousness." After eliminating additional items that did not meet minimum criteria, the remaining scale had 7 items. The items were further analyzed for reliability and validity, which they met. Establishing the reliability confirms whether a measure is free from error and provides consistent results, and the validity confirms whether the scale is measuring what it is meant to measure. 

Hyper-Ambitiousness Scale

​Responses are recorded on the following 5-Point Scale (Strongly disagree,Somewhat disagree, Neither agree not disagree, Somewhat agree, Strongly agree)


  1. I feel a considerable amount of stress when I miss out on work opportunities

  2. I would rather attend a work event that I am uninterested in to avoid missing out on an opportunity

  3. I will openly compete with a coworker over a work opportunity

  4. When I am not at work, I worry that I am missing out on a work opportunity

  5. I make the effort to attend non-mandatory work activities to avoid missing out on any opportunity

  6. I often find myself consumed by thoughts of missing potential opportunities for professional development

  7. When it comes to group projects, I always take control 


This validation study was a refreshing challenge! Prior to this, I had limited experience using SPSS, but came out of it with the ability to comfortably use the program to conduct more advanced analyses. It is empowering to have the ability to identify a construct, and to possess the skills to validate it. The item writing portion of this project gave me a new appreciation for the impact of vocabulary. Being able to identify the nuances of using different verbiage is a skill that will be very useful in my future career. If given the opportunity to recreate this project, I would like to use a larger SME pool to increase initial feedback on the items we created. 

Data Analysis

This project required extensive amounts of data analysis. The SPSS software completes actions as commanded, but the ability to interpret the output is akin to learning a new language.This will be useful to me in my career because I will be able to easily learn and adapt to new Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) as they are introduced in my organization.  


The SMEs that were used as resources to evaluate the items my team and I created are experts in several subfields of Psychology. I personally recruited three individuals, with who I exchanged various emails and phone calls with. After they rated our items, I emailed each of them thanking them for their contribution and asking them to save my contact information. Building professionals relationships will help me advance in my future career.    


The initial phases of this project were completed as a group, up until the survey data was exported. From that point on, my colleagues and I completed the project separately. Completing the technical aspects of this validation study on my own strengthened my ability to successfully complete projects independently. Strengthening my ability to work autonomously will be helpful while I try to establish myself as an I/O professional.