Adapting a Measure of Purpose-in-Life for Mexican American Research

By Wells, Jo Nell Burgess; Marshall, David | Journal of Theory Construction and Testing, Spring 2004 | Go to article overview

Adapting a Measure of Purpose-in-Life for Mexican American Research


Wells, Jo Nell Burgess, Marshall, David, Journal of Theory Construction and Testing


Abstract: Mexican Americans are often left out of research due to a lack of Spanish-language instruments. Purposeful functioning provides a holistic approach to the study and care of different cultures. This study describes the process of adapting a validated measure of purpose-in-life for research with Mexican Americans in the southwestern U.S. The Purpose-in-life Test as amended for this study, in its English version demonstrated a reliability coefficient of r = .86. The adapted Spanish version revealed an r of .72. The availability of valid cross-cultural measures can make comparisons of diverse groups feasible, leading to broader cross-cultural knowledge and understanding.

Key Words: Tool development, Translation, Culture, Mexican American, Factor Analysis

Figures released by the Census Bureau show that the Latino population reached 37million as of July 2000. This statistic suggests that Mexican Americans are within the top minority population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000a). In health care studies, Mexican Americans have been underrepresented, partly because of a shortage of adequately translated and validated research instruments. Additionally, the high monetary cost of translation, in some cases, can serve as a barrier for cross-cultural research (Li, McCardle, Clark, Kinsella, & Berch, 2001). Translation efforts are required to allow nurse researchers access to the diverse humans populations that they want to enroll in studies. An available option involves the adaptation and modification of valid instruments developed in other countries tor other cultures.

The purpose of this article is to describe a systematic process used in modifying and adapting the Purpose-in-lire (PIL) Test for use with Mexican Americans in the southern United States. Specifically, it depicts the multiple steps of translation and backtranslation to create the simplified English and Spanish versions of the measure. In addition, this article illustrates the methods undertaken for the measures to achieve linguistic and cross-cultural validity through content, technical, experiential, semantic, and conceptual equivalence (Flaherty et al., 1988; Guillemin, Bombardier, & Beaton, 1993).

Purpose-in-Life

Frankl (1963) proposes that the stronger the person's purpose-in-life, the greater the sense of control over human conditions. Life situations, such as severe or chronic illness, that are hopeless, desperate, and inevitable offer the ultimate opportunities for meaning to be fulfilled. An intrinsic and universal human resource, purpose-in-life will furnish one an identity that justifies perseverance in whatever life circumstances must be endured. see Figure 1.

Holism

Holism hypothesizes innate and unobservable aspects of the physical body that influence the whole person (Dossey & Dossey, 1998; Nightingale, F., 1860). Purposeful functioning or the striving toward a goal or goals thus provides a holistic approach to the study and care of different cultures. If purpose-in-life relates to a positive wellness attitude, health care providers can use this information to devise interventions to assist persons in the development of meaningful values and purposeful goals in life.

Integration

Recent focus on the integration of physical, mental, and spiritual components of health indicates the importance of research about psychological adaptation to chronic and potentially fatal diseases. A positive existential perspective, having a sense that one's life has meaning and purpose, is indicated as an important factor in coping with illness, in maintaining hope, potentially mediating substance use, and suicidal ideation. In general, purpose-in-life is related to well-being, life goals, judgments about the self, self-identity, faith, and social support. Persons with high purpose-in-life are found to be stable, mature, responsible and self-reported good health (Armengol, 1999; Bush, Janes, Jenkins, & Frame, 1996; Coward, 1990; Debats, 1996; Debats, Drost, & Hansen, 1995; Fabry, 1981; Florian, 1985; Garfield, 1973; Grant, 1980; Herberts & Erikson, 1995; Lyon & Younger, 2001; Molcar & Stuempfig, 1988; Phillips, 1980; Reker, Peacock, & Wong, 1987; Shek, 1993; Simmons, 1980; Stetz, 1989; Taylor, 1993; Waisberg & Porter, 1994; Wells, Bush, & Marshall, 2002; Ziki & Chamberlin, 1992). …

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