Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Dr. James H. McMillan


The purpose of this research was to develop and test an instrument to measure or quantify the construct of inner strength. Inner strength was synthesized into a theory based on twelve years of qualitative data from direct participant quotes, defined by Roux et al. (2002) as a central human resource that promotes well-being and healing. The inner strength questionnaire (ISQ) has undergone extensive psychometric evaluation which resulted in several versions. The third version had 37-items and was believed to have four subscales that mirrored the theoretical themes that emerged through the qualitative data. The sample was composed of 281 women with a variety of chronic health conditions including breast cancer, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and heart disease. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) were employed to assess the structure of the ISQ. Internal consistency was used to assess the reliability of each hypothesized subscale and the entire ISQ. Convergent and discriminant validity, were analyzed using the multitrait-multimethod by Campbell and Fiske (1959). For convergent validity, the entire instrument and each of the subscales was correlated with similar theoretical subscales of the Mastery of Stress Instrument (Younger, 1993). For discriminant validity, the Center for Epidemiological Studies in Depression (CESD) was correlated with the entire ISQ. Both the EFA and CFA revealed a four factor model. The four factors were labeled 1) mental, 2) connectedness, 3) knowing and searching, 4) physical. The reliability for all items on the ISQ was 0.91. The reliabilities for each of the subscales were 0.85 for mental, 0.96 for connectedness, 0.85 for knowing and searching, and 0.83 for physical. The multitrait-multimethod matrix revealed correlation coefficients for the relationship between the ISQ and MSI to be 0.55 and a correlation coefficient of -0.19 between the ISQ and the CESD.A four factor model is supported by the statistical data. Through face-to-face interviewing and input from content expert reviewers, ten items were eliminated from the 37-item (version 3) instrument to form a new version of the instrument. The new instrument supports the metasynthesis generated by Roux (2002) except for the fifth theme, entitled "new normal", which was found to be a consequence of having inner strength, not a component of inner strength.


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VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

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