• cancer;
  • confirmatory factor analysis;
  • needs;
  • oncology;
  • patients' psycho-emotional support


Background and object: An accurate assessment of patients' needs is a core point in improving treatment adherence, satisfaction, and quality of life of care receivers. The Needs Evaluation Questionnaire (NEQ) is a practical and short instrument designed to record hospitalized patients' necessities. The present paper is a contribution to its factorial definition, useful in enhancing the understanding of NEQ psychometric properties and in supporting its use in research as well as in current practice.

Method: Six hundred consecutive hospitalized cancer patients completed the NEQ together with a form for the collection of personal identification and clinical data. The initial sample was randomly split into two subsamples, and we then conducted: (1) an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) on Subsample 1; (2) a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) of the factor structure resulting from EFA on Subsample 2; (3) a comparison between the factor structure resulting from CFA and a unidimensional factor solution.

Results and conclusions: EFA revealed the presence of five factors (i.e. informative needs, needs related to assistance/care, relational needs, needs for psychoemotional support, and material needs) explaining a total of 50.5% of the variance. CFA confirmed the validity of the correlated five-factor solution emerging from EFA, demonstrating how the theoretical model provided a good fit to the observed data. Finally, we demonstrated that the five-factor solution was more appropriate in the reconstruction of the observed data than the unidimensional factor solution. According to the present data and despite the limitations raised, using NEQ as a five-factor questionnaire is functional and recommendable. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.