Introduction: Proactive self-care is a fundamental element of the Participatory Medicine model. Few indices measure self-care, and research about interventions that enhance self-care is sparse. The objective of this study was to develop a simple, direct measure of the dimension of proactive self-care in medical settings for use in research about participatory medical interventions. Methods: An exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted to examine the initial factor structure of the 10-item follow-up questionnaire commonly used in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) groups. The sample consisted of 185 participants enrolled in MBSR groups. A confirmatory factors analysis (CFA) was then conducted on part of the sample (n = 94) at MBSR follow-up to test the fit of the model uncovered in the EFA. Results: EFA results revealed a clear 5-item factor assessing what we perceived to be self-care attitude and behavior. The follow-up CFA confirmed a good fit of the data to these items, along with a sixth item we developed. We labeled these six items the Mindful Self-Care Index (MSCI).Conclusion: The MSCI provides a direct measure of proactive self-care and can be reliably employed in studies to help determine the effectiveness of interventions that intend to enhance self-care.
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