Evaluating and quality improving service provision is fundamental to all service delivery. To assess the effect of a diabetes education or lifestyle intervention, the widely used Summary of Diabetes Self-Care Activity scale (SDSCA) was adapted to suit Australian nutritional and physical activity guidelines and make it applicable to the general public. This resulted in the 14 items ‘Summary of Self–Care Behaviours’ (SSCB) Scale. The scale was tested for content and face validity before a large pilot-test was undertaken aiming to establish internal validity and reliability.
The pilot questionnaire was administered to people visiting the Diabetes NSW resource centre and to employees. Signed consent and contact details were obtained from people who were prepared to complete the questionnaire on two occasions two weeks apart (test-retest).
The pilot was completed by 100 people with type 2 diabetes, of whom 50 completed the test-retest; and 105 people without diabetes of whom 49 completed the test-retest. Internal consistency of 13 items excluding the ‘smoking’ item, is satisfactory (Cronbach alpha 0.64). Test-retest reliability for separate items range from a high correlation of 0.84 to a low of 0.47. The physical activity items have an internal consistency of 0.78 and test-retests reliability of 0.67. Fruit and vegetable consumption appear to be unrelated to sugar and fat consumption, with fruit and vegetable intake items having an internal consistency of 0.71 and test-retest reliability of 0.66. Correlation between items and dimensions of physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption is low (<0.30).
Self-care behaviour cannot be considered a single dimension as different facets of self-care are unrelated. Therefore, if the SSCB scale is used to assess the effect of an intervention, each item should be considered separately. Appling the scale as a brief pre-consultation assessment can guide an individualised education and self care plan.