Construct validity of the societal outreach scale (SOS)

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Background. The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has been working toward a vision of increasing professional focus on societal-level health. However, performance of social responsibility and related behaviors by physical therapists remain relatively poorly integrated into practice. Promoting a focus on societal outreach is necessary for all health care professionals to impact the health of their communities. Objective. The objective was to document the validity of the 14-item Societal Outreach Scale (SOS) for use with practicing physical therapists. Design. This study used a cross-sectional survey. Methods. The SOS was transmitted via email to all therapists who were licensed and practicing in 10 states in the United States that were purposefully selected to assure a broad representation. A sample of 2612 usable responses was received. Factor analysis was applied to assess construct validity of the instrument. Results. Of alternate models, a 3-factor model best demonstrated goodness of fit with the sample data according to conventional indices (standardized root mean squared residual = 0.03, comparative fit index = 0.96, root mean square error of approximation = 0.06). The 3 factors measured by the SOS were labeled Societal-Level Health Advocacy, Community Engagement/Social Integration, and Political Engagement. Internal consistency reliability was =0.7 for all factors. The 3-factor SOS demonstrated acceptable validity and reliability. Limitations. Though the sample included a broad representation of physical therapists, this was a single cross-sectional study. Additional confirmatory factor analysis, reliability testing, and word refinement of the tool are warranted. Conclusions. Given the construct validity and reliability of the 3-factor SOS, it is recommended for use as a validated instrument to measure physical therapists' performance of social responsibility and related behaviors.

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