AIM: This article describes the results of a study into the psychometric properties of a questionnaire about student nurses' perceptions of mental health care. The questionnaire was constructed in 2008, but has not yet been tested in terms of construct validity and reliability. A validated questionnaire is essential as a standardized method of analyzing student nurses' perceptions of mental health care.
METHOD: To investigate the construct validity, an exploratory factor analysis was performed. Reliability was determined by measuring the internal consistency of the questionnaire.
RESULTS: A principal component analysis (PCA) yielded a two-factor solution. The first factor comprised 9 items referring to the views of student nurses on psychiatric patients; the second factor comprised 6 items referring to the views of the students about professional careers in mental health care.
CONCLUSION: The factor analysis and questionnaire produced two easily interpretable factors covering the same categories as those identified in the literature as determinants of a student nurse's choice for or against a career in mental health care. The questionnaire's construct validity was rated as sufficient, its reliability as acceptable. The problem is the low explained variance (25.6%). The usefulness of the questionnaire is therefore questionable. The usefulness might be improved through the expansion of some of the categories by additional items. Relevant suggestions are made in this article.