Objective: The purpose of this study was to gather validity evidence for an innovative experience of hope scale, the Hope Differential-Short (HDS), and evaluate its clinical utility for assessing hope in advanced cancer patients.
Methods: A consecutive sampling approach was used to recruit 96 patients from an inpatient tertiary palliative care unit and three hospice settings. Each participant completed an in-person survey interview, consisting of the following measures: HDS (nine items), Herth Hope Index (HHI), hope visual analog scale (Hope-VAS) and Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS).
Results: Using factor analytic procedures, a two-factor structure for the HDS was identified, consisting of authentic spirit (Factor I) and comfort (Factor II). The HDS factors had good overall internal consistency (alpha = 0.83), with Factor I (alpha = 0.83) being higher than Factor II (alpha = 0.69). The two factors positively correlated with the HHI, Hope-VAS, and one of the ESAS visual analog scales, well-being (range: 0.38 to 0.64) and negatively correlated with depression and anxiety, as measured by the ESAS (range: -0.25 to -0.42).
Significance of results: This is the first validation study of the HDS in advanced cancer patients. Its promising psychometric properties and brief patient-oriented nature provide a solid initial foundation for its future use as a clinical assessment measure in oncology and palliative care. Additional studies are warranted to gather further validity evidence for the HDS before its routine use in clinical practice.