Measurement of community beliefs about colorectal cancer
Few educational campaigns have focused on bowel cancer, though studies have indicated that members of the community need and want current information about relevant issues. In order to facilitate research in this area, reliable and valid measures of community attitudes are needed. Content validity of a survey instrument was obtained through use of a Delphi process with Directors of Education from the Australia Cancer Council and focus group discussions with informed members of the public. The subsequent survey of community perceptions about colorectal cancer included a broad range of content areas related to the risk of bowel cancer, preventing and coping with bowel cancer and beliefs about susceptibility and severity. The construct validity of these content areas was investigated by use of a factor analysis and confirmation of an association with related predictor variables. Two measures related to personal influence and anticipated coping responses showed favourable psychometric properties, including moderate to high levels of internal consistency and test-retest reliability. A test of the concurrent validity of these measures requires further development of instruments related to colorectal cancer or adaptation of measures from other areas of health research.