Postnatal period is a critical transitional phase in the lives of mothers and newborn babies. In recent years the importance on promoting a positive experience of care following childbirth is increasingly emphasized. Yet published evidence of the methodological and psychometric quality of instruments to evaluate women’s experience of comprehensive postnatal care is still lacking.
This study aimed to develop and validate a unique scale (the Chinese version of the Postnatal Care Experience Scale, PCES) to measure women’s overall experience of care during postnatal periods.
The PCES instrument was developed and validated over three phases, including item development, scale development, and scale evaluation. The item pool of the PCES was generated through existing literature and in-depth semi-structured interviews, followed by assessment of content validity and rating of importance and feasibility of items through two-round Delphi surveys. Psychometric properties were examined in a convenience sample of 736 postpartum women. Both exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) were conducted to assess the construct validity of the developed PCES. The relationship between the total PCES score and the global item construct was estimated using Pearson product-moment coefficient. Reliability was assessed using Cronbach’s alpha and Spearman Brown coefficients.
The content validity index of the Chinese version PCES was 0.867. Following item reduction analysis, this instrument consisted of 30 five-point Likert items. The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin statistic was 0.964 and the chi-square value of the Bartlett spherical test was 11665.399 (P < .001). The scale explained 75.797% of the total variance and consisted of three subscales, including self-management, social support, and facility- and community-based care. The Pearson correlation coefficient between the total PCES score and the global item construct was 0.909. The CFA showed that the 3-factor model had suitable fitness for the data. Cronbach’s alpha value and Spearman-Brown Split-half reliability for the total scale were 0.979 and 0.941, respectively.
The newly developed 30-item PCES is a psychometrically reliable and valid instrument that assesses women’s overall experience of postnatal care. Future research should aim to use the PCES in various populations to obtain further evidence for its validity and reliability.