Development and validation of a scale for measuring cultural beliefs about psychotherapy patients in southern Chile

Resumen:
Purpose Negative cultural beliefs about psychotherapy patients represent one of the barriers in the psychological help-seeking and treatment adherence. In Chile today, there is little research about specific beliefs towards this group, and therefore measuring them represents a challenge. The aim of the present study was to develop and validate an instrument to measure cultural beliefs about psychotherapy patients. Methods A mixed method design conducted in four stages was implemented. First, 32 semi-structured interviews were carried out to identify beliefs about psychotherapy patients in southern Chile. Then, a scale of beliefs about psychotherapy patients (SBPP) was developed and piloted in an adult sample (n = 109). Subsequently, the factorial structure of the new scale was explored in patients of primary health centres in La Araucania Region of Chile (n = 201). Finally, the validity of the construct was assessed in adults who were not undergoing psychotherapy (n = 361). Results The results showed the existence of negative cultural beliefs about psychotherapy patients which were included in the construction of the SBPP. The scale had a bifactorial structure (alpha(transitory situations) = 0.81 and alpha(stable characteristics) = 0.79), consisting of 15 items with a Likert-type response format, and showed good indicators of validity and reliability on the samples in which were applied. Conclusions The present study shows the importance of using mixed methods for the examination of socially shared beliefs by the cultural group under study, in order to construct instruments that are psychometrically robust and culturally pertinent.

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