177187 Using mixed methods analysis to develop valid research tools for disaster survivors: The hurricane Katrina experience

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Olugbemiga Tanilepada Ekundayo, MD, MPH, DrPH , Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
Hussain Al-Fadhli, PhD , Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
Daniel Sarpong, PhD , Jackson Heart Study, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
Gerri A. Cannon-Smith, MD, MPH , School of Public Health, Jackson State University, Brandon, MS
Amel Mohamed, MPH(c) , Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
Margaret H. Hill, MPPA , Department of Epidemilogy, Institute of Epdemiology and Health Services Research, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
Gladys R. Peters, MPH , Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Institute of Epidemiology and Health Services Research, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
Debbie Ferguson, MS, DrPH(c) , Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS

Research reports of hurricane survivors' experiences are structured to fit scientific models developed, standardized, validated and “normed” for populations that may or may not be Katrina survivors. Analyses of survivors' responses to questions in research instruments have not adequately reflected their actual experiences. This raises questions for quantitative research validity, and reflection of actual events. Exploring respondents' views of research tools could help shape further disaster relief studies for policy and program development to further improve quantitative research validity and program effectiveness.


Using mixed methods analysis of K.I. Pargament's (Pargament, 1997) Religious Coping Scale (RCOPE) in a pilot study, survivors' reactions and comments were compared to RCOPE variables and domains. Comments were used to modify the RCOPE questionnaire to better capture survivors' experiences, and guide inclusion of additional constructs.


The Brief RCOPE did not reflect the actual experiences of survivors while the full RCOPE did not capture key domains of the spiritual and religious experiences of survivors. Comments exposed subscales and constructs that were not reflected in the full RCOPE. Additional constructs included social capital, resources, self efficacy, God communication, self evaluation, and behavioral/perceptual coping. Eigenvalues and Cronbach alpha levels increased with domain reorganization and addition of constructs.


Applying qualitative analysis to the RCOPE, reorganizing the domain template to better fit survivors' experiences and perceptions has implications for research and practice. Flexibility in approaches helps to better fit research to actual experience, provide valid findings, reduce research bias, improve cultural competence and increase practice effectiveness.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify steps in qualitative domain analyses 2. State procedure for construct/domain/subscale reorganization 3. Identify basic statistical outputs for measuring construct/domain validity and reliability 4. Identify RCOPE subscales before modification to fit Katrina survivors’ perceptions

Keywords: Cultural Competency, Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Principal Investigator
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.