BACKGROUND: There is an increased attention to and demand for patient empowerment in cancer treatment and follow-up programs. Patient empowerment has been defined as feeling in control of or having mastery in relation to cancer and cancer care. This calls for properly developed questionnaires assessing empowerment from the user perspective. The aim of this review was to identify questionnaires and subscales measuring empowerment and manifestations of empowerment among cancer patients.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We conducted a systematic search of the PubMed, PsycINFO and CINAHL databases. Empowerment and multiple search terms associated with empowerment were included. We included peer-reviewed articles published in English, which described questionnaires measuring empowerment or manifestations of empowerment in a cancer setting. In addition, the questionnaire had to be a patient-reported outcome measure for adult cancer patients.
RESULTS: Database searches identified 831 records. Title and abstract screening resulted in 482 records being excluded. The remaining 349 full text articles were retrieved and assessed for eligibility. This led to the inclusion of 33 individual instruments measuring empowerment and manifestations of empowerment. Of these, only four were specifically developed to measure empowerment, and two were originally developed for the cancer setting, whereas the remaining two were developed elsewhere, but adapted to the cancer setting. The other 29 questionnaires were not intended to measure the concept of empowerment, but focused on patient-centered care, patient competence, self-efficacy, etc. However, they were included because part of the instrument (at least five items) was considered to measure empowerment or manifestations of empowerment.
CONCLUSION: Our study provides an overview of the available questionnaires, which can be used by researchers and practitioners who wish to measure the concept of empowerment among cancer patients. Very few questionnaires were explicitly developed to explore empowerment, and the review brings to light a significant lack of questionnaires that measure patient empowerment comprehensively.