Informational and decisional empowerment in online health support communities: initial psychometric validation of the Cyber Info-Decisional Empowerment Scale (CIDES) and preliminary data from administration of the scale

Support Care Cancer. 2011 Dec;19(12):2057-61. doi: 10.1007/s00520-011-1249-y. Epub 2011 Aug 21.


Purpose: This article presents initial psychometric validation of an instrument developed to measure cyber informational and decisional empowerment. The article provides preliminary insights into the extent to which cyber patients view the digital environment of peer-based information and support as a resource for informed and empowered participation in self health care management.

Methods: Data come from cancer patients (N = 350) who participated in the Study of Virtual Health Networks for Cancer Patients of the 21st Century. Data were first analyzed using exploratory factor analysis with principle component extraction and Varimax rotation. Age-based split-sample analysis (≥ 51 and ≤ 50) was performed on a subsample, which consisted of only women (N = 255), in order to cross-validate psychometric data obtained from the full sample. A confirmatory factor analysis was conducted using AMOS 19.0. to further validate the scale.

Results: The composite scale is unidimensional with excellent internal consistency reliability. The highest average scores were obtained for informational empowerment items. The lowest average was for the item that measured empowerment to seek second opinion from additional health care professionals.

Conclusions: The ability of this composite measure to provide information about the extent to which computer-connected patients view digital peer support as an empowerment tool makes it a valuable addition to the literature in health informatics, supportive cancer care, and health quality of life research.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Consumer Health Information
  • Decision Making*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms
  • Power, Psychological*
  • Psychometrics*
  • Social Support*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • United States
  • Young Adult