Aims and objectives: To develop and validate a scale to measure the burden experienced by community health volunteers.
Background: Research demonstrates the burden experienced by informal carers is substantial. There is no available information about the burden placed on community health volunteers, nor is there a scale developed for the purpose of measuring their burden.
Design: An instrument development and psychometric analysis study was undertaken.
Methods: Exploratory principal component factor analysis was applied to investigate the internal structure of the new scale.
Results: The initial item pool derived from literature review and experts resulted in 44 items linked to volunteer burden. The final scale includes 20 items with a content validity index of 0·86 and Cronbach's alpha for test (0·82) and retest (0·77). The reliability coefficient of the test–retest results was 0·63 [95%-confidence interval = (0·44, 0·77)]. Principal component analysis identified five underlying factors: Factor 1 items are related to personal and family matters; factor 2 items are related to administrative issues; factor 3 items concern the community support; factor 4 items are related to organisational matters; and factor 5 items concern issues of adequate health promotion delivery.
Conclusion: The 20 item instrument designed to measure the burden on community health volunteers in Taiwan showed good internal consistency, content validity and construct validity. The findings infer that the scale may be an effective measure of the burden experienced by community health volunteers. Further testing of this scale within other countries that make use of community health volunteers is required to confirm the results.
Relevance to clinical practice: As volunteers play an important role in supporting the work of community health nurses, the new scale provides a means for nurses to assess volunteers' level of burden and develop interventions as required.