Academic journal article East Asian Archives of Psychiatry

Scale for Positive Aspects of Caregiving Experience: Development, Reliability, and Factor Structure

Academic journal article East Asian Archives of Psychiatry

Scale for Positive Aspects of Caregiving Experience: Development, Reliability, and Factor Structure

Article excerpt

Abstract

Objective: To develop an instrument (Scale for Positive Aspects of Caregiving Experience [SPACE]) that evaluates positive caregiving experience and assess its psychometric properties.

Methods: Available scales which assess some aspects of positive caregiving experience were reviewed and a 50-item questionnaire with a 5-point rating was constructed. In all, 203 primary caregivers of patients with severe mental disorders were asked to complete the questionnaire. Internal consistency, test-retest reliability, cross-language reliability, split-half reliability, and face validity were evaluated. Principal component factor analysis was run to assess the factorial validity of the scale.

Results: The scale developed as part of the study was found to have good internal consistency, testretest reliability, cross-language reliability, split-half reliability, and face validity. Principal component factor analysis yielded a 4-factor structure, which also had good test-retest reliability and cross-language reliability. There was a strong correlation between the 4 factors obtained.

Conclusion: The SPACE developed as part of this study has good psychometric properties.

Key words: Caregivers; Mental disorders; Psychometrics

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Introduction

Caregiving is a process by which caregivers (family members, friends, and mental health professionals) provide care in the form of materialistic, emotional, social, and financial support to the individual suffering from an illness. Today, most subjects with severe mental disorders in India receive care on an outpatient basis, consequently most of the care and supervision are provided by the family. The relatives accept the dysfunctional non-earning members, take responsibility for their hospital visits, and supervise medication. Further, due to lack of rehabilitation services at most places especially in developing countries, this, too, is provided by the family members. Studies have shown that in doing so, caregivers perceive considerable burden, have poor quality of life, and experience psychological morbidity.1-3 However, these do not deter them from taking care of ill family members. Further, it has been shown that caregiving has the potential to be a source of positive transformations in people's lives4 and can give rise to a sense of satisfaction.5

Although much is known about the negative impact of caregiving, positive aspects of caregiving have not caught much attention from researchers. Since a positive experience is a subjective event, no standard formal definition is available. Various authors have understood positive caregiving in terms of caregiver gains / satisfaction and caregiving experience.6-8 Others have assessed positive caregiving experience in the domains of duty / obligation, companionship, reward, quality of life, enjoyment, and meaning.9 Researchers also differ in quantifying what is a caregiver's gain and / or satisfaction. Kramer10 and López et al11 considered caregiver gains as perceived subjective gains and rewards, and the experience of personal growth that occurs as a result of providing care. While Chen and Greenberg4 defined caregiver gains as "the caregiver's perceived personal growth and enhanced interpersonal relationships", Tarlow et al12 considered positive aspects of caregiving as rewards and satisfaction derived from the relationship. Studies have identified satisfaction with caregiving in the form of feeling fulfilled, important and responsible, as well as a sense of companionship and meaning within the relationship.9 In some studies the positive aspects of caregiving included improved relationships, increased self-esteem, feeling appreciated, enhanced sense of meaning or purpose, pleasure, and prevention of further deterioration.5,10 The caregiving benefits / gains described in the literature include feeling more useful, feeling needed, learning new skills, and adding meaning to one's sense of self,8,13 gaining a sense of fulfilment for meeting a duty / obligation, and enjoyment derived from caregiving itself or from companionship with the care recipient. …

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