A psychometric evaluation of measures of spirituality validated in culturally diverse palliative care populations.

Research paper by Lucy L Selman, Richard R Siegert, Richard R Harding, Marjolein M Gysels, Peter P Speck, Irene J IJ Higginson

Indexed on: 07 Jun '11Published on: 07 Jun '11Published in: Journal of Pain and Symptom Management


Despite the need to accurately measure spiritual outcomes in diverse palliative care populations, little attention has been paid to the properties of the tools currently in use.This systematic review aimed to appraise the psychometric properties, multifaith appropriateness, and completion time of spiritual outcome measures validated in multicultural advanced cancer, HIV, or palliative care populations.Eight databases were searched to identify relevant validation and research studies. A comprehensive search strategy included search terms in three categories: palliative care, spirituality, and outcome measurement. Inclusion criteria were: validated in advanced cancer, HIV, or palliative care populations and in an ethnically diverse context. Included tools were evaluated with respect to psychometric properties (validity, reproducibility, responsiveness, and interpretability), multifaith appropriateness, and time to complete.A total of 191 articles were identified, yielding 85 tools. Twenty-six tools (representing four families of measures and five individual tools) met the inclusion criteria. Twenty-four tools demonstrated good content validity and 12 demonstrated adequate internal consistency. Only eight tools demonstrated adequate construct validity, usually because specific hypotheses were not stated and tested. Seven tools demonstrated adequate test-retest reliability; two tools showed adequate responsiveness, and two met the interpretability criterion. Data on the religious faith of the population of validation were available for 11 tools; of these, eight were tested in multifaith populations.Results suggest that, at present, the McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire, the Measuring the Quality of Life of Seriously Ill Patients Questionnaire, and the Palliative Outcome Scale are the most appropriate multidimensional measures containing spiritual items for use in multicultural palliative care populations. However, none of these measures score perfectly on all psychometric criteria, and their multifaith appropriateness requires further testing.