Academic journal article Journal of Nursing Measurement

Locke-Wallace Short Marital-Adjustment Test: Psychometric Evaluation in Caregivers for Persons with Primary Malignant Brain Tumor

Academic journal article Journal of Nursing Measurement

Locke-Wallace Short Marital-Adjustment Test: Psychometric Evaluation in Caregivers for Persons with Primary Malignant Brain Tumor

Article excerpt

Background and Purpose: Caregivers' well-being has been found to be associated with marital adjustment. This study's purpose was to evaluate the psychometric properties of the Locke-Wallace Short Marital-Adjustment Test (LWSMAT) in a sample of caregivers of persons with primary malignant brain tumor (PMBT). Methods: Secondary analysis of data collected from 114 caregivers. The LWSMAT was tested for factor structure, internal consistency reliability, and construct validity. Results: 5 extracted factors explained 60.55% of the total variance. Four interpretable factors (Contentment & Communication, Leisure & Sociality, Intimacy, and Shared Philosophy) had Cronbach's alpha between 0.63 and 0.74. Convergent validity (r 5 2.35 and r 5 2.43, respectively, both p , .0001) and discriminant validity (r 5 .07, p 5 .49; and r 5 2.04, p 5 .67) were confirmed by comparing four factors with subdimensions of the Caregiver Reaction Assessment (CRA). Conclusion: The LWSMAT is a multidimensional, reliable, and valid measure of marital adjustment in caregivers of persons with a PMBT.

Keywords: marriage; personal satisfaction; psychometrics; family; caregivers; brain neoplasms

Marital adjustment has long been used to describe the quality and stability of marriage. A well-adjusted marriage is expected to last for a long time and be satisfying by both spouses. The quality of marital relationship has been found to be consequential for health. A poor marital relationship could influence physiological f unctions and impact health outcomes through depression and health habits (Kiecolt-Glaser & Newton, 2001). Compelling evidence supports that caregiving burden and depressive symptoms are linked with marital stress (Carmack Taylor et al., 2008; Davis, Gilliss, Deshefy-Longhi, Chestnutt, & Molloy, 2011; McPherson, Wilson, Chyurlia, & Leclerc, 2010; Pereira, Daibs, Tobias-Machado, & Pompeo, 2011; Simonelli et al., 2008). A spouse might respond negatively to his/her partner with cancer because of a poorly adjusted marital relationship, specifically related to a greater restriction of activities and a negative mood (Carmack Taylor et al., 2008; Lewis, Fletcher, Cochrane, & Fann, 2008). Caring for a person with brain tumor is specially challenging for the family caregiver because of the person's cognitive and behavioral changes. Communication, enjoyment of companionship, and the level of intimacy between the couples can deteriorate as the person's cognitive function declines (Garand et al., 2007). Research suggests that caregivers' psychosocial well-being and quality of life are significantly influenced by the functional status of persons with brain tumor (Finocchiaro et al., 2012; Schubart, Kinzie, & Farace, 2008) and caregivers' marital adjustment is very likely to be affected by their stressful caregiving activities (Glantz et al., 2009).

An accurate measure of caregiver marital adjustment is an important tool for understanding the relationship between marital adjustment and caregiver burden in caregivers of patients with brain tumors. Numerous marital adjustment tests have been widely used in practice and research, including the Locke-Wallace Short Marital-Adjustment Test (LWSMAT), which is one of the most frequently used instruments for the measurement of marital adjustment. The reliability and validity of the LWSMAT has been explored and been established among the general population (Freeston & Plechaty, 1997; Locke & Wallace, 1959; Spanier, 1972). However, its psychometric properties have not been evaluated among caregivers of patients with cancer, particularly for patients with a primary malignant brain tumor. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the psychometric properties of the LWSMAT in a sample of caregivers of persons with primary malignant brain tumor (PMBT).

BACKGROUND AND CONCEPTUAL ISSUES

About 1.6 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States (American Cancer Society, 2012). …

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