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J Pain Symptom Manage. 1996 Oct;12(4):221-8.

Development and testing of the symptom experience scale.

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Department of Nursing, William Paterson College of New Jersey, Wayne 07470, USA.


The Symptom Experience Scale (SES) was designed to measure women's experience of symptoms associated with treatment for breast cancer. The SES, a modification of McCorkle's Symptom Distress Scale, was developed and tested in a sample of 252 women with breast cancer. Exploratory factor analysis yielded six factors, which used all 24 SES items and accounted for 83.2% of the variance. The factors were nausea and appetite, fatigue and sleep, concentration, appearance, bowel pattern, and pain. Cronbach's alpha internal consistency reliability coefficients ranged from 0.92 to 0.96; the alpha for the total SES was 0.94. Subscale to subscale correlations ranged from 0.21 to 0.56. Additional research is recommended with samples large enough to permit confirmatory factor analysis and determine the stability of the factor structure identified in the present study. Additional research also is recommended to determine the applicability of the SES for men and women of diverse ethnic groups with various types of cancer and other chronic illnesses.

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