Role of religion and spirituality in medical patients: confirmatory results with the SpREUK questionnaire.Health Qual Life Outcomes 2005; 3:10HQ
Spirituality has become a subject of interest in health care as it is was recognized to have the potential to prevent, heal or cope with illness. There is less doubt that values and goals are important contributors to life satisfaction, physical and psychological health, and that goals are what gives meaning and purpose to people's lives. However, there is as yet but limited understanding of how patients themselves view the impact of spirituality on their health and well-being, and whether they are convinced that their illness may have "meaning" to them. To raise these questions and to more precisely survey the basic attitudes of patients with severe diseases towards spirituality/religiosity (SpR) and their adjustment to their illness, we developed the SpREUK questionnaire.
In order to re-validate our previously described SpREUK instrument, reliability and factor analysis of the new inventory (Version 1.1) were performed according to the standard procedures. The test sample contained 257 German subjects (53.3 +/- 13.4 years) with cancer (51%), multiple sclerosis (24%), other chronic diseases (16%) and patients with acute diseases (7%).
As some items of the SpREUK construct require a positive attitude towards SpR, these items (item pool 2) were separated from the others (item pool 1). The reliability of the 15-item the construct derived from the item pool 1 respectively the 14-item construct which refers to the item pool 2 both had a good quality (Cronbach's alpha = 0.9065 resp. 0.9525). Factor analysis of item pool 1 resulted in a 3-factor solution (i.e. the 6-item sub-scale 1: "Search for meaningful support"; the 6-item sub-scale 2: "Positive interpretation of disease"; and the 3-item sub-scale 3: "Trust in external guidance") which explains 53.8% of variance. Factor analysis of item pool 2 pointed to a 2-factor solution (i.e. the 10-item sub-scale 4: "Support in relations with the External life through SpR" and the 4-item sub-scale 5: "Support of the Internality through SpR") which explains 58.8% of variance. Generally, women had significantly higher SpREUK scores than male patients. Univariate variance analyses revealed significant associations between the sub-scales and SpR attitude and the educational level.
The current re-evaluation of the SpREUK 1.1 questionnaire indicates that it is a reliable, valid measure of distinct topics of SpR that may be especially useful of assessing the role of SpR in health related research. The instrument appears to be a good choice for assessing a patients interest in spiritual concerns which is not biased for or against a particular religious commitment. Moreover it addresses the topic of "positive reinterpretation of disease" which seems to be of outstanding importance for patients with life-changing diseases.