Date Presented 03/31/2022

The purpose of the study was to develop and determine reliability and validity of the Sensory Health Awareness and Responsiveness Profile (SHARP), a tool measuring sensory health awareness and responsiveness in adults. Seventy-seven students ages 18 to 42 participated in the study. Content validity was confirmed by a panel of experts. Internal reliability was strong. Construct validity was determined by comparisons with measures of interoceptive awareness and wellness (Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness).

Primary Author and Speaker: Victoria Schulze

Additional Authors and Speakers: Katarina Soares, Gabrielle Cocca

Contributing Authors: Catherine Cavaliere

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a new assessment tool to measure the emerging concept of sensory health in adults. Sensory health is the melding of sensory integration and processing and well-being theories, realizing that our patterns of processing sensory information directly influence our life experiences and thus mold our sense of well-being. Fully understanding our sensory processing needs and styles can aid significantly in developing our well-being. While there are there are a variety of tools that assess the impact of sensory processing on daily functioning, they do not account for how sensory preferences and responsiveness to those, impact satisfaction and well-being. The SHARP profiles a person’s sensory preferences and responsiveness to those preferences across contexts and explores the impact that those have on an individual’s sense of well-being. It was hypothesized that the SHARP would demonstrate content validity, internal reliability, and construct validity as compared to the Pizzi Health and Wellness Assessment (PHWA) and Multidimensional Assessment for Interoceptive Awareness, 2nd edition (MAIA-2).

DESIGN: This pilot study utilized a psychometric design. The participants were recruited through convenience sampling of students enrolled at a college in New York. Students ages 18 and older with and without pre-existing conditions were accepted as participants. All data was de-identified prior to analysis. An electronic format was used to administer the informed consent, SHARP, PHWA, and MAIA-2. Data was analyzed using the SPSS 27.0. A panel of experts was used to determine the construct validity. Internal reliability was determined through the use of Cronbach’s Alpha and a Pearson’s correlation coefficient was used to determine the content validity between the SHARP, PHWA, and MAIA-2.

RESULTS: The hypotheses for this study were formed prior to data collection stating the SHARP questionnaire would be valid and reliable were confirmed by the study’s results. A panel of experts determined validity agreeing that questions covered the totality of the construct of sensory health within each context. A high Cronbach’s alpha (α = .85) revealed strong internal reliability. There was moderately strong internal reliability when items were separated into awareness (α = .702) and responsiveness items (α = .720). A Pearson’s correlation coefficient (PCC) was used to measure the SHARP’s construct validity when compared against the MAIA-2 (r(75) = .429) and PHWA (r(75) = .379). Low correlations indicate that the SHARP measures a unique construct that is different than the constructs measured in these assessments.

CONCLUSION: The SHARP is a tool that can be used to profile one’s sensory health. Understanding one’s sensory processing preferences and needs can significantly aid in supporting well-being. The SHARP demonstrates initial reliability and content validity for measuring the emerging construct of sensory health. Additional research is needed to determine construct validity and determine usage with various populations.


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