New Publication

Factor Structure, Reliability and Measurement Invariance of the Alberta Context Tool and the Conceptual Research Utilization Scale, for German Residential Long Term Care

Matthias Hoben, Carole A. Estabrooks, Janet E. Squires and Johann Behrens

Frontiers in Psychology, 7:1339

Link to Open Access article


We translated the Canadian residential long term care versions of the Alberta Context Tool (ACT) and the Conceptual Research Utilization (CRU) Scale into German, to study the association between organizational context factors and research utilization in German nursing homes. The rigorous translation process was based on best practice guidelines for tool translation, and we previously published methods and results of this process in two papers. Both instruments are self-report questionnaires used with care providers working in nursing homes. The aim of this study was to assess the factor structure, reliability, and measurement invariance (MI) between care provider groups responding to these instruments. In a stratified random sample of 38 nursing homes in one German region (Metropolregion Rhein-Neckar), we collected questionnaires from 273 care aides, 196 regulated nurses, 152 allied health providers, 6 quality improvement specialists, 129 clinical leaders, and 65 nursing students. The factor structure was assessed using confirmatory factor models. The first model included all 10 ACT concepts. We also decided a priori to run two separate models for the scale-based and the count-based ACT concepts as suggested by the instrument developers. The fourth model included the five CRU Scale items. Reliability scores were calculated based on the parameters of the best-fitting factor models. Multiple-group confirmatory factor models were used to assess MI between provider groups. Rather than the hypothesized ten-factor structure of the ACT, confirmatory factor models suggested 13 factors. The one-factor solution of the CRU Scale was confirmed. The reliability was acceptable (>0.7 in the entire sample and in all provider groups) for 10 of 13 ACT concepts, and high (0.90–0.96) for the CRU Scale. We could demonstrate partial strong MI for both ACT models and partial strict MI for the CRU Scale. Our results suggest that the scores of the German ACT and the CRU Scale for nursing homes are acceptably reliable and valid. However, as the ACT lacked strict MI, observed variables (or scale scores based on them) cannot be compared between provider groups. Rather, group comparisons should be based on latent variable models, which consider the different residual variances of each group.