Objectives: Several epidemiological studies address psychosomatic self regulation as a measure of quality of life aspects. However, although widely used in studies with a focus on complementary cancer treatment, and recognized to be associated with better survival of cancer patients, it is unclear what the self regulation questionnaire exactly measures.
Design and setting: In a sample of 444 individuals (27% healthy, 33% cancer, 40% other internal diseases), we performed reliability and exploratory factor analyses, and correlated the 16-item instrument with external measures such as the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, the Herdecke Quality of Life questionnaire, and autonomic regulation questionnaire.
Results: The 16-item pool had a very good internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha = 0.948) and satisfying/good (r subsetrt = 0.796) test-retest reliability after 3 months. Exploratory factor analysis indicated 2 sub-constructs: (1) Ability to change behaviour in order to reach goals, and (2) Achieve satisfaction and well-being. Both sub-scales correlated well with quality of life aspects, particularly with Initiative Power/Interest, Social Interactions, Mental Balance, and negatively with anxiety and depression.
Conclusions: The Self Regulation Questionnaire (SRQ) was found to be a valid and reliable tool which measures unique psychosomatic abilities. Self regulation deals with competence and autonomy and can be regarded as a problem solving capacity in terms of an active adaptation to stressful situations to restore well-being. The tool is an interesting option to be used particularly in complementary medicine research with a focus on behavioural modification.