A new scale assessing the stressors and rewards of children’s hospice work

Andrew Papworth*, Andre Bedendo, Jo Taylor, Bryony Beresford, Suzanne Mukherjee, Lorna K. Fraser, Lucy Ziegler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: There is a workforce shortage in the children’s hospice sector, but there has been little research on the specific challenges of working in this setting and on how these challenges might be alleviated. To identify appropriate interventions to improve staff wellbeing, the drivers of wellbeing in children’s hospices need to be known and measured. This paper reports on the development of two measures, one for work-related rewards and one for work-related stressors, for use in children’s hospice care teams. Methods: A mixed-methods, four-stage study; the first three phases focused on the development of the scales, and the last stage focused on the validation of the scales. Participants of all stages were children’s hospice care team staff members in the UK. Stage 1: survey assessing the relevance and comprehensiveness of the original scale items (N = 60); Stages 2 (focus groups; N = 16) and 3 (cognitive interviews; N = 14) to assess content validity; Stage 4: UK-wide survey (N = 414) to validate the final version of the new, children’s hospice-specific scales using Rasch Analysis (RA) and Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA). Results: Due to poor fitting indices shown in the results from the RA, five items (out of 36) were removed from the new rewards scale used in the UK-wide survey and 20 (out of 62) were removed from the new stressors scale. CFA also supported the removal of the items and showed a one-factor structure for the rewards scale and a three-factor structure for the stressors scale were adequate—the sub-scales for the stressors scale related to caring for an ill or dying child (“Child” sub-scale), working with parents and families (“Parent” sub-scale), and stressors related to organisational factors, such as team conflict and workload (“Organisation” sub-scale). Conclusions: Both of the new scales showed good psychometric properties and can be useful in clinical settings and research to assess the perceived intensity of the work-related rewards and stressors for children’s hospice staff.

Original languageEnglish
Article number136
JournalBMC Palliative Care
Issue number1
Early online date13 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Hospice
  • Paediatric
  • Palliative
  • Scale
  • Staff
  • Wellbeing


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