• Building the capacity for psycho-oncology research: A survey of the research barriers and training needs within the International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS)

      Lambert, SD; Coumoundouros, C; Hulbert-Williams, NJ; Shaw, J; Schaffler, J; McGill University; University of Chester; University of Sydney (Wolters Kluwer, 2020-07-28)
      Background: The International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS) is a multidisciplinary professional network that aims to improve psychosocial care for individuals impacted by cancer. IPOS encourages research activity, recognising that a high-quality evidence-base is essential to provide best-practice, data-driven clinical care. This study aimed to determine the barriers to research involvement and the training needs and priorities of IPOS members, with the goal of facilitating the development of training resources tailored to the needs of IPOS members. Methods: A link to an online, cross-sectional survey was disseminated to all registered members of IPOS via email. The online survey platform SimpleSurvey was used, and questions included demographic characteristics and items related to research interests, involvement, and training needs. High priority research training needs were identified as research tasks respondents rated as highly important, yet possessed a low perceived skill level in. Results: 32% of IPOS members (n = 142) completed the survey. Participants represented 49 countries and were at a variety of career stages. Overall, participants reported spending an average of 17.3 hours per week on research (range = 0 to 80 hours per week), with 69% of respondents wanting to increase their research involvement. The main barriers to research participation included lack of research funding (80%) and lack of protected time (63%). IPOS members identified five high priority training needs: (1) preparing successful grant applications; (2) preparing research budgets; (3) community-based participatory research; (4) working with decision makers; and (5) finding collaborators or expert consultants. Participants suggested funding access, statistical advisors and networking and mentorship opportunities as ways to enhance research involvement. Members preferred online training modules (39%) and mentorship programs (19%) as methods by which IPOS could provide research support. IPOS was viewed as being able to contribute to many aspects of research capacity building such as networking, training, and dissemination of research findings. Conclusions: IPOS has an important role in encouraging research capacity building among members. This survey provides an agenda for workshops and training opportunities. Mainly, for respondents it was less about training in research methods and more about training in how to prepare successful grant applications, including budgets, and receiving mentorship on this as well as having opportunities to collaborate with other researchers.
    • The Psychological Impact of Cancer (PIC) Scale: development and comparative psychometric testing against the Mini-MAC© Scale in UK and Australian cancer survivors.

      Hulbert-Williams, Lee; Whelen, Liz; Mulcare, Hunter; University of Chester; Western Health (Wolters Kluwer, 2019-09-20)
      Background: Clinicians and researchers make considerable use of both the Mental Adjustment to Cancer (MAC) Scale, and the shorter Mini-MAC, to measure psychological adjustment in cancer patients. The length of the scale is problematic when used clinically, and its psychometric properties have been criticized. This paper presents two studies leading to the development of a novel scale the Psychological Impact of Cancer (PIC) Scale using items drawn from the MAC. Methods: Study 1 used standard item-reduction techniques to shorten the Mini-MAC in a sample of 160 cancer patients of mixed diagnosis, recruited an average 46 days post-diagnosis. This resulted in a 12-item scale with a four-factor structure, similar to that derived from a 2012 re-analysis of the Mini-MAC. Study 2 presents confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) of this new measure and tests its construct validity and test-retest reliability in a sample of 183 mixed cancer survivors. Results: This study indicated that the shorter scale performed well on CFA indicators (RMSEA= .083; ECVI= .923; PNFI= .604; AGFI .857) and tests of internal consistency (all >.623); and comparable concurrent validity with longer versions. The four factors were labeled cognitive distress, cognitive avoidance, emotional distress and fighting spirit. Conclusions: Given its shorter length and acceptable psychometrics, the PIC offers a useful clinical and research tool to assess the psychological impact of cancer. Psychometric properties of one subscale (fighting spirit) remain poor, but no worse than in the original scale; directions for further development of the scale are described.