Quality of prenatal care questionnaire: psychometric testing in an Australia population
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BACKGROUND: The quality of antenatal care is recognized as critical to the effectiveness of care in optimizing maternal and child health outcomes. However, research has been hindered by the lack of a theoretically-grounded and psychometrically sound instrument to assess the quality of antenatal care. In response to this need, the 46-item Quality of Prenatal Care Questionnaire (QPCQ) was developed and tested in a Canadian context. The objective of this study was to validate the QPCQ and to establish its internal consistency reliability in an Australian population. METHODS: Study participants were recruited from two public maternity services in two Australian states: Monash Health, Victoria and Wollongong Hospital, New South Wales. Women were eligible to participate if they had given birth to a single live infant, were 18 years or older, had at least three antenatal visits during the pregnancy, and could speak, read and write English. Study questionnaires were completed in hospital. A confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted. Construct validity, including convergent validity, was further assessed against existing questionnaires: the Patient Expectations and Satisfaction with Prenatal Care (PESPC) and the Prenatal Interpersonal Processes of Care (PIPC). Internal consistency reliability of the QPCQ and each of its six subscales was assessed using Cronbach's alpha. RESULTS: Two hundred and ninety-nine women participated in the study. CFA verified and confirmed the six factors (subscales) of the QPCQ. A hypothesis-testing approach and an assessment of convergent validity further supported construct validity of the instrument. The QPCQ had acceptable internal consistency reliability (Cronbach's alpha = 0.97), as did each of the six factors (Cronbach's alpha = 0.74 to 0.95). CONCLUSIONS: The QPCQ is a valid and reliable self-report measure of antenatal care quality. This instrument fills a scientific gap and can be used in research to examine relationships between the quality of antenatal care and outcomes of interest, and to examine variations in antenatal care quality. It also will be useful in quality assurance and improvement initiatives.
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