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Brief assessment of adult cancer patients' perceived needs: development and validation of the 34-item Supportive Care Needs Survey (SCNS-SF34)


Allison Boyes
Centre for Health Research and Psycho-oncology
Locked Bag 10
NSW 2287


Objective  This study aimed to develop and validate a short version of the Supportive Care Needs Survey (SCNS) that would reduce respondent burden and could be used in routine cancer care, without compromising the psychometric properties of the original instrument.

Methods  Secondary analyses of the data from two studies (n = 888 and 250) were undertaken. All 59 items of the original SCNS were assessed using psychometric analyses and evaluated for clinical utility. The 34 items retained were examined for internal consistency, ceiling and floor effects, known groups validity, convergent validity, sensitivity and readability.

Results  The 34-item instrument has five factors (psychological, health system and information, physical and daily living, patient care and support, and sexuality needs) identical to the original instrument, explaining 73% of the variance. Internal consistency was high with Cronbach's alpha coefficients for the five factors ranging from 0.86 to 0.96. Correlations of the 34-item short-form SCNS (SCNS-SF34) with three other measures of psychosocial well-being demonstrated convergent validity (r = 0.48–0.56). Kappa coefficients of at least 0.83 for each domain indicated almost perfect agreement between the 34-item and 59-item surveys to identify patients needing help. The 34-item SCNS maintained the psychometric properties of the original instrument and could be readily comprehended by people with seventh to eighth grade education.

Conclusions  The SCNS-SF34 is a valid instrument for measuring cancer patients' perceived needs across a range of domains, and could be utilized as part of routine cancer care.