Continued development and validation of a theory-based measure of human caring for social work
Ellis, Jacquelyn I.
MetadataShow full item record
Though central to all helping professions, the human caring construct has proven difficult to define and measure. The purpose of the present study was: (a) to examine the psychometric properties of a revised version of the only existing measure of human caring in the context of social work practice, the Human Caring Inventory –Social Work (Ellett & Ellett, 1996); and (b) to expand a line inquiry exploring the relationship between human caring and retention of public child welfare workers (Ellett, 2000; Ellett & Ellett, 1996; Ellett, Ellett, & Rugutt, 2003). New scale items were developed to improve the fit between the measure and the theoretical model upon which it was based (Noddings, 1984), including indicators of the theorized dimension Interpersonal Reward- affective rewards received by those in professional caring roles that sustain caring under difficult circumstances. A cross-sectional design was used to survey all public child welfare workers in Georgia engaged primarily in the delivery of direct services (N=2190). A response rate of 36% was achieved (n=786). Principal Components Analyses supported theorized multi-dimensionality of the human caring construct; a seven-component solution explained 42% of the item variance. Data from four of the seven empirically verified Revised Human Caring Inventory (RHCI) subscales demonstrated internal consistency reliabilities (Cronbach’s alphas) ranging from .77 to .83. Five of the RHCI subscales demonstrated test-retest reliability (stability coefficients ranging from .72 to .91). Study findings replicated the results of previous studies confirming the importance of human caring in the retention of public child welfare workers. Using a stepwise regression model, the Professional Commitment subscale of RHCI explained 21% of the variance in intent to remain employed. Implications of the findings for theory, research, and practice are discussed.