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Background: Providing care for a patient with cancer can negatively affect the health and psychosocial well-being of informal caregivers. However, social support has been enlisted as an essential buffer to stressful life events. There is now a greater call to routinely measure and provide support for caregivers and this is only feasible through use of validated outcome measures. The multidimensional scale of perceived social support (MSPSS) is one of the most commonly used social support outcome measure. Consequently, the MSPSS has been translated into several languages and validated across several populations. The aim of the present study was to translate the MPSS to Shona (Zimbabwean native language) and validate it in caregivers of patients with cancer.
Methods: The MSPSS was translated to Shona using a backward-forward translation method, pretested on a group of caregivers (n = 10) before being administered to large sample (N = 126) at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals. Both exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis were performed to assess the structural validity of the MSPSS-Shona version. Reliability was assessed using the Cronbach’s alpha.
Results: Data for 120 caregivers were analysed. Most were females (69.2%), had attained at least secondary education (81.7%) and married (75%). There was moderate evidence for structural validity for the 2-factor model and excellent evidence for internal consistency as the scale yielded α = 0.905.
Conclusions: Despite moderate evidence for structural validity, the translation of MSPSS into native languages (e.g. MSPSS-Shona) in low resource settings can be deemed as “steps in the right direction” for evidence based practise in management of cancer. There is also need for further psychometric evaluation of the MSPSS-Shona.