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Validation of the Demoralization Scale in an Irish advanced cancer sample

  • Mary Mullane (a1), Barbara Dooley (a2), Eoin Tiernan (a3) and Ursula Bates (a3)



This article presents a validation study of the Demoralization Scale, a 24-item, 5-point response questionnaire developed by Kissane et al. in 2004 to assess demoralization in advanced cancer patients.


One hundred Irish inpatients with advanced palliative cancer completed the Demoralization Scale and measures of depression, hopelessness, quality of life, and personal hopefulness.


Principal component analysis of the Demoralization Scale yielded four similar factors found by Kissane et al. (2004), namely, loss of meaning, dysphoria, disheartenment, and sense of failure. A new factor, the hopelessness factor, was also found in the current study. The reliability of the five factors was good, ranging from .72 to .93. Contrary to the findings of Kissane et al.'s (2004) study, divergent validity of the Demoralization Scale was not supported. Demoralized patients were significantly more likely to be depressed than those that did not score highly on the Demoralization Scale. In addition, this study found significantly lower levels of demoralization in general compared with Kissane et al.'s (2004) study.

Significance of results:

The results of the current study show that, in an Irish palliative care context, demoralization is not differentiated from depression. Additional factor analytic studies are needed to validate the Demoralization Scale.


Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Mary Mullane, Psychology Department, Child and Family Centre, County Clinic, Navan, Co. Meath, Ireland. E-mail:


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