Objective: Even in secular societies, a small portion of patients find their spirituality to help cope with illness. But for the majority of patients, psychosocial and spiritual needs are neither addressed nor even considered a relevant factor by health care professionals. To measure such specific needs, the Spiritual Needs Questionnaire (SpNQ) was developed. The aim of this study was to validate the Chinese version of the SpNQ (SpNQ-Ch) and thus to measure psychosocial and spiritual needs of Chinese patients.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study among 168 patients with chronic diseases who were recruited in the Changhai Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, China using standardized questionnaires. We performed reliability and factor analyses, as well as analyses of variance, first order correlations and regression analyses.
Results: The 17-item SpNQ-Ch had a similar factorial structure as the original version with two main and three minor factors which accounted for 64% of variance, and internal consistency estimates (Cronbach's α) ranging from 0.51 to 0.81. Included were the 4-item scale Inner Peace Needs, the 5-item scale Giving/Generativity Needs, the 5-item scale Religious Needs (with 2 sub-constructs, Praying and Sources), and a 3-item scale Reflection/Release Needs. In Chinese patients with cancer (63%), pain affections (10%), or other chronic conditions (23%), the needs for Giving/Generativity (which refer to categories of Connectedness and Meaning) and Inner Peace Needs scored highest, while Religious Needs and the Reflection/Release Needs scored lower.
Conclusion: The SpNQ-Ch is congruent with its primary version, and can be used in future studies with the mostly nonreligious patients from China. First findings indicate specific psychosocial and spiritual needs which should be addressed by health care professionals to support patients in their struggle with chronic illness in terms of psycho-emotional stabilization, finding hope and meaning, and thus achieving peaceful states of mind despite chronic illness.