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Caregivers of cancer patients are faced with significant demands that can seriously impact their physical and mental health. It is important for healthcare professionals to be aware of caregivers' support needs in order for these to be adequately addressed. Our study develops a German version of the Family Inventory of Needs (FIN) and provides a comprehensive evaluation of its acceptability and psychometric properties.
Cross-sectional data from 308 participants were taken from the baseline assessment of an ongoing prospective study. Retests were completed by 46 participants approximately one week after baseline. Informal caregivers of terminally ill cancer patients were recruited from three hospitals in Vienna. Questionnaires for hope (IHS), traumatic stress (IES–R), and depression and anxiety (HADS) were employed together with the translated FIN to assess concurrent and discriminant validity.
The internal consistency of FIN–Importance had a Cronbach's α of 0.94, and that for FIN–Fulfillment was α = 0.96. Retest reliability for FIN–Importance was r = 0.97, while that for FIN–Fulfillment could not be calculated due to missing responses to this subscale. Concurrent and discriminant validity tests for the scale and the discriminative power of items were adequate. However, missing responses may limit the feasibility of using this scale in research settings. We identified six questions that could be excluded from the scale in order to increase its acceptability and further improve its psychometric properties.
Significance of results:
Our results suggest that the FIN is suitable for clinical settings. For use in research, we suggest four adaptations to increase the scale's acceptability and psychometric properties. The FIN can be a valuable tool for informing the emotional, physical, and psychological support provided to family carers of people who are terminally ill with cancer.
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