Psychometric Testing of a Religious Belief Scale

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Abstract

Background:

Nurses account for a significant percentage of staff in the healthcare system. The religious beliefs of nurses may affect their competence to provide spiritual care to patients. No reliable and valid instruments are currently available to measure the religious beliefs of nurses in Taiwan.

Purposes:

The aims of this study were to develop a religious belief scale (RBS) for Taiwanese nurses and to evaluate the psychometric properties of this scale.

Methods:

A cross-sectional study design was used, and 24 RBS items were generated from in-depth interviews, a literature review, and expert recommendations. The RBS self-administered questionnaire was provided to 619 clinical nurses, who were recruited from two medical centers and one local hospital in Taiwan during 2011–2012. A calibration sample was used to explore the factor structure, whereas a validation sample was used to validate the factor structure that was constructed by the calibration sample. Known-group validity and criterion-related validity were also assessed.

Results:

An exploratory factor analysis resulted in an 18-item RBS with four factors, including “religious effects,” “divine,” “religious query,” and “religious stress.” A confirmatory factor analysis recommended the deletion of one item, resulting in a final RBS of 17 items. The convergent validity and discriminate validity of the RBS were acceptable. The RBS correlated positively with spiritual health and supported concurrent validity. The known-group validity was supported by showing that the mean RBS between nurses with or without religious affiliation was significant.

Conclusions/Implications for Practice:

The 17-item RBS developed in this study is a reliable, valid, and useful scale for measuring the religious beliefs of nurses in Taiwan. This scale may help measure the religious beliefs of nurses and elicit the relationship between these beliefs and spirituality.

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