Background: Existing spiritual support scales for use with cancer survivors focus on the support believed to come from a religious community, clergy, or health care providers.
Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the reliability and validity of a new measure of spiritual support believed to come from God in older Christian African American cancer survivors.
Methods: The Perceived Support From God Scale was administered to 317 African American cancer survivors aged 55-89 years. Psychometric evaluation involved identifying underlying factors, conducting item analysis and estimating reliability, and obtaining evidence on the relationship to other variables or the extent to which the Perceived Support From God Scale correlates with religious involvement and depression.
Results: The Perceived Support From God Scale consists of 15 items in two subscales (Support From God and God's Purpose for Me). The two subscales explained 59% of the variance. Cronbach's α coefficients were .94 and .86 for the Support From God and God's Purpose for Me subscales, respectively. Test-retest correlations were strong, supporting the temporal stability of the instrument. Pearson's correlations to an existing religious involvement and beliefs scale were moderate to strong. Subscale scores on Support From God were negatively correlated to depression.
Discussion: Initial support for reliability and validity was demonstrated for the Perceived Support From God Scale. The scale captures a facet of spirituality not emphasized in other measures. Further research is needed to evaluate the scale with persons of other racial/ethnic groups and to explore the relationship of spirituality to other outcome measures.
Jill B. Hamilton, PhD, RN, is Assistant Professor; and Jamie L. Crandell, PhD, is Research Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
J. Kameron Carter, PhD, is Associate Professor, Divinity School, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.
Mary R. Lynn, PhD, RN, is Professor, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Accepted for publication August 17, 2009.
The studies in this report were funded in part by Grant R01 NR009271-04 from the National Institute of Nursing Research and National Center for Minority Health Disparities (J. Hamilton, principal investigator). Support was also received from 5P60-MD000525-01 from the National Center for Minority Health Disparities (O. W. Brawley, principal investigator), NRSA T32#NR07048-06, Nursing Care of Older Populations, Oregon Health and Science University, and the Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Scientist Program.
This work would not have been possible without the contributions of individuals who helped with recruitment and data collection and provided invaluable input into the development of the questionnaire. A special thank you goes to Dr. Otis W. Brawley, Mansi Agarwal, Gregory Johnstone, Rodney Theodore, Rev. Dr. Marcus Ingram, Oregon Health & Science University's Center for Symptom Management in Life-Threatening Illness, Grady's Cancer Center of Excellence, Emory University Clinics, and Winship Cancer Institute.
Corresponding author: Jill B. Hamilton, PhD, RN, CB 7460 School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7460 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).