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Testing domains of the healing experiences in all life stressors questionnaire in a cohort of HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected Chicago women

Authors Mistretta EG, Sloan D, BrintzenhofeSzoc K, Weber KM, Berger A

Received 13 December 2016

Accepted for publication 12 April 2017

Published 4 July 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 201—208


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Igor Elman

Erin G Mistretta,1,2 Danetta Sloan,1 Karlynn BrintzenhofeSzoc,3 Kathleen M Weber,4 Ann Berger1

1Pain and Palliative Care Service, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, 2Department of Psychology, Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, 3School of Social Work, College of Allied Health Sciences, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, 4HIV Research, Hektoen Institute of Medicine/Cook County Health and Hospitals System, Chicago, IL, USA

Purpose: Patients may deal with issues of spiritual and religious meaning when coping with life-threatening or chronic illness. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have developed the healing experiences in all life stressors (HEALS) questionnaire, an assessment to determine psychosocial spiritual adjustment to healing. Many measures assess religious and spiritual behavior, but there exists a need to capture the meaning of these factors in the process of healing. The instrument consists of spirituality, religion, interpersonal, and intrapersonal domains. This study explores the preliminary partial validation of the spirituality and religion domains of the HEALS against the Ironson–Woods Spirituality and Religiousness Index (IWSR).
Methods: The abbreviated HEALS, IWSR, and a measure of depression were completed by 205 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected and HIV-uninfected women from Chicago as part of the Women’s Interagency HIV Study. Total scores on the HEALS and IWSR were correlated using Pearson correlations to examine convergent validity. Total depression scores were analyzed with Pearson correlations to investigate criterion validity.
Results: Responses between the abbreviated HEALS and IWSR were highly correlated (r=0.74). Similar to other measures of its kind, scores on the HEALS were associated with depressive symptoms. Women with clinically significant depressive symptoms scored significantly lower on the HEALS than women without. No significant differences were found for race, age, education, or HIV status.
Conclusion: This study is an important step in the future validation of the HEALS. Results suggest that the spirituality and religion domains of the HEALS have good construct validity with the IWSR. After further validation, this measure may provide clinicians and researchers with a unique way to assess psychosocial spiritual healing.

Keywords: HIV, spirituality, healing, construct validity, life-threatening illness

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