Reliability and validity of the Dutch version of the Consultation and Relational Empathy Measure in primary care
Background. Empathy is an essential skill in doctor–patient communication with positive effects on compliance, patient satisfaction and symptom duration. There are no validated patient-rated empathy measures available in Dutch. Objective. To investigate the validity and reliability of a Dutch version of the Consultation and Relational Empathy (CARE) Measure, a widely used 10-item patient-rated questionnaire of physician empathy. Methods. After translation and back translation, the Dutch CARE Measure was distributed among patients from 19 general practitioners in 5 primary care centers. Tests of internal reliability and validity included Cronbach’s alpha, item total correlations and factor analysis. Seven items of the QUality Of care Through the patient’s Eyes (QUOTE) questionnaire assessing ‘affective performance’ of the physician were included in factor analysis and used to investigate convergent validity. Results. Of the 800 distributed questionnaires, 655 (82%) were returned. Acceptability and face validity were supported by a low number of ‘does not apply’ responses (range 0.2%–11.9%). Internal reliability was high (Cronbach’s alpha 0.974). Corrected item total correlations were at a minimum of 0.837. Factor analysis on the 10 items of the CARE Measure and 7 QUOTE items resulted in two factors (Eigenvalue > 1), the first containing the CARE Measure items and the second containing the QUOTE items. Convergent construct validity between the CARE Measure and QUOTE was confirmed with a modest positive correlation ( r = 0.34, n = 654, P < 0.001). Conclusion. The findings support the preliminary validity and reliability of the Dutch CARE Measure. Future research is required to investigate divergent validity and discriminant ability between doctors.
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