A critical analysis of scales to measure the attitude of nurses toward spiritual care and the frequency of spiritual nursing care activities

Bert Garssen*, Anne Frederieke Ebenau, Anja Visser, Nicoline Uwland, Marieke Groot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Quantitative studies have assessed nurses’ attitudes toward and frequency of spiritual care [SC] and which factors are of influence on this attitude and frequency. However, we had doubts about the construct validity of the scales used in these studies. Our objective was to evaluate scales measuring nursing SC. Articles about the development and psychometric evaluation of SC scales have been identified, using, Web of Science, and CINAHL, and evaluated with respect to the psychometric properties and item content of the scales. Item content was evaluated by each of the five authors with respect to the following questions: Does the item (1) reflect a general opinion about SC instead of a personal willingness to offer SC; (2) reflect general psychosocial care instead of specific SC; (3) focus solely on religious care; (4) contain the words ‘spiritual’ (care/needs/health/strengths, etc.); and (5) contain multiple propositions, or have an unclear meaning? We found eight scales. Psychometric analysis of these scales was often meager and the items of all but one scale suffered from two or more of the five problems described above. This leads us to conclude that many quantitative results in this area are based on findings with questionable scales. Suggestions for improvements are provided.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12178
JournalNursing Inquiry
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017

Keywords

  • nurse–patient interaction
  • nursing assessment
  • quantitative methods
  • religion
  • spirituality

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