The South African Traditional Belief Scale as an instrument to aid culture-congruent health care

  • J Beuster
  • G Schwär
Keywords: South African Traditional Belief Scale, cultural beliefs and values, culture-congruent care, culture sensitivity, treatment compliance


Medical and psychological health care professionals are becoming increasingly aware that effective treatment in culturally diverse societies requires sensitivity to the patient's cultural beliefs and customs (Davidhizar & Giger, 2001:2; Foley & Wurmser, 2004:2; Hickson & Christie, 1989:162; Mkize, 2003:4; Narayanasamy, 2003:1). To this end this article introduces the South African Traditional Belief Scale (SATBS) as an instrument to enable culturecongruent care, not only in the medical field, but also in psychotherapy and counselling. This scale measures the extent to which black South Africans adhere to traditional beliefs and customs. To obtain reliability and validity data, 64 second-year students were randomly selected at the East Rand campus of Vista University. The reliability of the SATBS was established by calculating inter-item correlations. A reliability coefficient, or index of internal consistency of 0.91 (Cronbach alpha) was obtained after the first iteration. In order to establish criterion validity, the South African Traditional Belief Scale was validated against the Degree of Enculturation Survey (DES) by using the same random sample. A validity coefficient of 0.7899 was obtained which indicates a high index of criterion validity. The questionnaire therefore measures what it purports to assess.

Keywords: South African Traditional Belief Scale; cultural beliefs and values; culture-congruent care; culture sensitivity; treatment compliance

Health SA Gesondheid Vol. 10 (4) 2005: pp. 29-40

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eISSN: 2071-9736
print ISSN: 1025-9848