Abstract: Development and Validation of the Inventory of Stress and Coping for African American Survivors of Homicide Victims (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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Development and Validation of the Inventory of Stress and Coping for African American Survivors of Homicide Victims

Friday, January 13, 2023
Camelback B, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Tanya L. Sharpe, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
Derek Iwamoto, PhD
Jheanelle Anderson, MSW, Senior Research Assistant/Project Coordinator, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
Background and Purpose: Although African Americans disproportionately experience homicide, there are no validated measures of the traumatic impact of coping with murder for surviving loved ones of homicide victims. This research describes four studies that contributed to the validation of the Inventory of Stress and Coping for African American Survivors of Homicide Victims (ISCASHV), which assesses multi-components of sociocultural and psychological processes for African Americans coping with homicide.

Methods: In Study 1, survivors (n = 19), service providers (n = 3), African American families and instrument development scholars (n = 3) provided recommendations to augment preliminary inventory items. This process resulted in the revised ISCASHV, a 47-item inventory that assesses the origins and types of coping strategies used by African American survivors, including cultural trauma, reactions to homicide, culture of homicide, racial appraisal, and coping. Qualtrics was used to collect responses to the ISCASHV from individuals who were: a) 18 years of age or older, b) experienced the homicide of a loved one, and c) self-identified as Black or African American. Study 2 (n = 361) used exploratory factor analyses (EFAs) to assess underlying constructs, and Study 3 (n = 56) conducted a test–retest analysis to examine temporal stability. Construct and validity analyses were conducted in Study 4 (n = 308).

Findings: The modifications from Study 1 appeared to improve the psychometric properties of the measures given the reliability estimates improved for several subscales. Studies 2–4 results provide strong support for the multi-component 47-item measure. In Study 2, the EFAs conducted independently on each of the components of the model demonstrated construct validity support and conceptual alignment with theorized components of the model. Study 3 revealed that there were no changes in participants’ responses between Studies 2 and 3 for the Cultural Trauma, Culture of Homicide, Coping, and Racial Appraisal scales. However, the difference observed between Study 2 and 3 responses for the Reactions to Homicide scale was expected as individual grief processes can shift over time. Bivariate correlations demonstrated that all five scales have good test–retest reliability, suggesting strong evidence for the temporal stability of the factors. The psychometric properties of the ISCASHV appear to be reliable, sound, representative, and stable over time. CFA results in Study 4 revealed that the factors that make up the multi-components of the model provide a good fit for the data and demonstrate support for the findings of the EFAs in Study 2. The larger correlations between conceptually similar factors suggest convergent validity evidence, and the small associations between income and responses to the measure provide discriminant validity support.

Conclusions and Implications: This study extends the empirical literature regarding stigma, distinct stressors, and coping strategies used by African American survivors. The results of this study suggest that the ISCASHV is a promising measure assessing the traumatic grief process and coping strategies for African American survivors and highlights the importance of examining historical and contemporary experiences of African Americans and their influence on strategies used to cope with homicide.