Journal of Behavioral Health and Psychology. 2016; 6(1):(193-318)


The Beck Hopelessness Scale: Factor structure, validity, and reliability in a non-clinical sample of student nurses in South-western Nigeria

Olutayo Aloba, Oluwaseyi Olabisi, Olayinka Ajao, Tolulope Aloba

Abstract

Background: The Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS), as the most globally utilized measure of hopelessness, has been recognized to be very useful in the prediction of suicide. Its psychometric properties in terms of its factor structure, validity, and reliability have not been examined among Nigerian student nurses. The rate of suicide has previously been reported to be high among nurses and student nurses. Objective: The purpose of this study, is to explore the psychometric properties of the BHS in a non-clinical sample of student nurses (438), selected from four tertiary health care affiliated training institutions in South-Western Nigeria. The student nurses completed the BHS, in addition to the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES), the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), the General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12) and a sociodemographic questionnaire. Results: The BHS exhibited satisfactory reliability (Cronbach’s alpha 0.89), while its convergent validity was supported via significant correlations with the GHQ-12 (r = 0.724, P < 0.001), PHQ-9 (r = 0.749, P < 0.001), and RSES (r = −0.727, P < 0.001). It also exhibited satisfactory discriminative concurrent criterion validity through its ability to reflect higher hopelessness scores in the student nurses with GHQ-12 and PHQ-9 scores above the cut off points. Exploratory factor analysis applying principal axis factoring indicates that the construct of hopelessness is best explained by a two-factor 18-item model. Conclusions: The BHS is a valid and reliable measure of hopelessne ss among Nigerian student nurses. The findings in this study indicate that there may be need to establish interventions that will reduce the severity of hopelessness among Nigerian student nurses through the screening for depressive symptoms and psychological distress.

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