Development of an Instrument to Measure Spiritual Self-Care Practices

White, Mary L., and Stephanie Schim Myers


A comprehensive review of literature on spirituality and spiritual self-care practices was completed to determine if a valid and reliable instrument was available to measure spiritual practices as a supplement to self-care practices. While a few instruments were found that measured spirituality beliefs and practices, most were from the perspective of the health care provider. None of the instruments were from the patient’s perception. To fill this gap in the research on self-care practices, an instrument was developed to measure patients’ perceptions of their spiritual practices in daily life. A list of possible items that could be considered as spiritual practices was developed from a review of literature on spirituality. To determine face validity, the list was sent to religious leaders from different religions (e.g., Catholic, Episcopalian, Jewish, Lutheran, Muslim). These leaders reviewed the list and indicated which of the items did not represent spiritual practices. They were also asked to provide suggestions for additional items that could be added to the instrument. A pilot test was completed with 35 patients in a general practice medical office. They completed the Spiritual Self-care Practice Scale (SSCPS) and the Spirituality and Spiritual Care Rating Scale (SSCRS) to determine criterion validity. The SSCRS had been tested for validity and reliability previously. The correlations between the two scales were statistically significant. indicating good criterion validity. The instrument was found to have good internal consistency with a Cronbach alpha coefficient of .92. Based on this preliminary analysis, the SSCPS appears to have good validity and reliability. Further testing is needed to determine construct validity and stability as a measure of reliability. The development of the SSCPS provides nurses with a quick, simple instrument to measure the types of spiritual practices that patients use in their daily lives and allow them to continue these practices while hospitalized or receiving treatment for chronic illnesses.