Development of a tool to measure women's perception of respectful maternity care in public health facilities

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2016 Mar 29;16:67. doi: 10.1186/s12884-016-0848-5.


Background: Maternal mortality continues to be the biggest challenge facing Ethiopia and other developing countries. Although progress has been made in making maternity services available closer to the community, the rate of deliveries attended by skilled birth attendants has remained very low. Absence of respectful maternity care (RMC) is believed to have contributed to low utilization of facility delivery services. This study outlines steps undertaken to construct and validate a scale that measures women's perception of respectful maternity care provided in health facilities.

Methods: An inductive item generation process that included a literature review and in-depth interviews with labor and delivery clients, followed by an expert review, assured face validity and content validity of the tool. A draft RMC scale with 37 items and two additional measures of global satisfaction items, measured on a five-point Likert scale, were administered to a developmental sample of 509 postnatal care clients visiting facilities immediately after childbirth to 7 weeks postpartum. IBM SPSS 20 was used to perform exploratory factor analysis (EFA) using principal component analysis (PCA) with oblique rotation method.

Results: The final RMC scale with 15 items was loaded on four components. The extracted components were labeled as friendly care, abuse-free care, timely care, and discrimination-free care. The final RMC scale correlated strongly with the global satisfaction measures, indicating criterion-related validity of the scale. Content-related validity was assured by the process of item generation. Construct validity of the RMC scale was confirmed by high average factor loading of the four components ranging from 0.76 to 0.82 and low correlation between the components. Stability of the scale was confirmed by running PCA in a randomly selected split sample of 320 samples from the validation sample. The final 15-item scale showed an adequate reliability with α = 0.845.

Conclusion: The 15-item RMC scale is a valid and reliable measure of women's perception of RMC received in health facilities. We recommend that health facilities use the RMC scale in urban public health facilities and that other researchers conduct further exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis in different geographic areas.

Keywords: Disrespect and Abuse (D&A); Respectful Maternity Care (RMC); Scale.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ethiopia
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Health Facilities / standards*
  • Health Services Research / methods*
  • Humans
  • Maternal Health Services / standards*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Perception
  • Pregnancy
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Psychometrics
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Young Adult