Stress in the SA Navy: Piloting and evaluating the validity and reliability of a developed therapeutic recreation stress leisure and appraisal tool
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The nature of naval member’s job demands is that they experience high levels of stress. Stress is introduced in military training to familiarize sailors with real life stressors. This study is located in piloting and validity theory. It focuses explicitly on validating an existing tool, the Therapeutic Recreation Stress Leisure Appraisal Tool, to measure stress in the South African Navy. This study aimed to pilot and evaluate the validity and reliability of the developed tool in an African context in the South African Navy. A multi-stage procedure of instrument development using the instrument development model will be used, consisting of the following steps: 1) preliminary phase, 2) questionnaire development, 3) pilot testing, and 4) evaluation. The scope of this study, is only focused on stages three and four. The current study followed an explanatory sequential mixed-method design. In this study, the qualitative phase was done first, followed by the quantitative phase. The mixed-method design is used to build upon the same research questions. PHASE 1, the pilot-testing phase (qualitative, n=50), explored if the developed appraisal tool is interpreted correctly and contains the necessary applicable questions. This population and sample were purposefully selected from the navy. Data were collected in focus groups taking place at a naval base. Five focus groups of ten members each were completed using interview schedules. Recorded data was transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed using thematic analysis with data coding to extract themes. This study is an extension of from a masters study linked to the current study, which contributed towards the finalisation of the questionnaire. Iterative exploratory factor analyses were used at the item and scale levels to select and reassign the items and scales. PHASE 2, the evaluation phase (quantitative, n=1000), determined the validity and reliability of the refined, developed appraisal tool. The population (N=7000) and sample (n=1000) consisted of senior and junior ranks from the officer core, conveniently selected from a naval base. PHASE 1 informed PHASE 2, the evaluation phase.