Aims. The purpose of this study was to develop and test a scale of Taiwanese caregiver meaning.
Background. The meaning of care-giving is defined as the beliefs one holds about oneself and the care-giving experiences that affect adjustment to the care-giving role. An existing tool, the Meaning in Care-giving Scale, has been tested in Taiwan, but it showed that the construct validity was unreliable.
Design. The study was a cross-sectional study with purposive sampling.
Method. The instrument was developed through 20 semi-structured interviews of caregivers of mentally ill patients. A comparative method was used to analyse the text and field notes. According to the results, 29 items were designed and 318 caregivers of mentally ill patients were recruited from a psychiatric outpatient department in central Taiwan. Content and back direct content validity tests were conducted. Internal consistency, Chronbach’s alpha, was used to examine the reliability, and exploratory factor analysis was used to examine the construct validity.
Results. Twenty items were kept after exploratory factor analysis. They represent four factors: the benefits of care-giving, a belief in Karma, personal responsibility and a reflection on life. Cronbach’s alpha value for a subscale increased from 0·68–0·84, and the total scale was 0·84. A sixty per cent (59·55%) cumulative variance can be explained by four factors.
Conclusion. A Taiwanese caregiver meaning can be considered a useful scale for assessing the meaning of care-giving for Taiwanese caregivers of mentally ill patients. A good scale and instrument take years to develop. This study takes the first step to examine the structure of the scale, and it is worth continued testing, modification and improvements.
Relevance to clinical practice. The scale of Taiwanese caregiver meaning was developed based on certain aspects of contemporary Taiwanese culture. It can be used to provide mental health professionals new counselling knowledge to assist caregivers of mentally ill patients to adjust to their circumstances.