Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 653–665 | Cite as

Psychometric evaluation of the Sibling Cancer Needs Instrument (SCNI): an instrument to assess the psychosocial unmet needs of young people who are siblings of cancer patients

  • P. PattersonEmail author
  • F. E. J. McDonald
  • P. Butow
  • K. J. White
  • D. S. J. Costa
  • B. Millar
  • M. L. Bell
  • C. E. Wakefield
  • R. J. Cohn
Original Article



The current study sought to establish the psychometric properties of the revised Sibling Cancer Needs Instrument (SCNI) when completed by young people who have a brother or sister with cancer.


The participants were 106 young people aged between 12 and 24 who had a living brother or sister diagnosed with any type or stage of cancer in the last 5 years. They were recruited from multiple settings. The initial step in determining the dimensional structure of the questionnaire was exploratory factor analysis and further assessment followed using Rasch analysis. Construct validity and test–retest reliability (n = 17) were also assessed.


The final SCNI has 45 items and seven domains: information; practical assistance; “time out” and recreation; feelings; support (friends and other young people); understanding from my family; and sibling relationship. There was a reasonable spread of responses across the scale for every item. Rasch analysis results suggested that overall, respondents used the scale consistently. Support for construct validity was provided by the correlations between psychological distress and the SCNI domains. The internal consistency was good to excellent; Cronbach's alphas ranged from 0.78 to 0.94. The test–retest reliability of the overall measure is 0.88.


The SCNI is the first measure of psychosocial unmet needs which has been developed for young people who have a brother or sister with cancer. The sound psychometric properties allow the instrument to be used with confidence. The measure will provide a substantial clinical benefit in highlighting the unmet needs of this population to assist with the prioritisation of targeted supportive care services and evaluating the impact of interventions targeted at siblings.


Cancer Oncology Needs Sibling Psychosocial Adolescent and young adult 



The authors wish to thank the young people who shared their experiences with us in the course of this research. We are also extremely grateful to the reviewers for the thoroughness of their comments and their enthusiasm for this piece of research. Our article has improved much in light of their suggestions.

Conflict of interest

None of the authors have any conflict of interest. The corresponding author has full control of all primary data and agrees to allow the journal to review the data if requested.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Patterson
    • 1
    Email author
  • F. E. J. McDonald
    • 1
  • P. Butow
    • 2
    • 3
  • K. J. White
    • 4
  • D. S. J. Costa
    • 2
  • B. Millar
    • 1
  • M. L. Bell
    • 2
  • C. E. Wakefield
    • 5
    • 6
  • R. J. Cohn
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.CanTeen AustraliaSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Psycho-Oncology Co-operative Research Group (POCoG)The University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Centre for Medical Psychology and Evidence-based Medicine (CeMPED)The University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  4. 4.Cancer Nursing Research Unit, Sydney Nursing SchoolThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  5. 5.Kids Cancer CentreSydney Children’s Hospital (SCH)RandwickAustralia
  6. 6.School of Women’s and Children’s Health, UNSW MedicineUniversity of NSWSydneyAustralia

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