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Social Support Scale (SSS)


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evaluation focus

Social Support

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The Social Support Scale (SSS) is an instrument that can be used to measure a person’s availability of perceived social support. The SSS assesses the availability of a variety of social supports by asking respondents to rate their access to persons who can provide help and/or support on a scale from “never” to “always”.


Social Supports Assessed:

    • Affective
    • Economic
    • Labor
    • Familial
    • Entertainment
    • Advice/Guidance


Evaluative Items (Santiago 2023)

    • Emotional: “There are people in my life who pay attention to my feelings and problems”
    • Appraisal: “There are people in my life who appreciate what I do”
    • Instrumental: “There are people in my life who I can get help from if I need it”
    • Informational: “There are people in my life who I can talk to about how to handle things”
    • Rewarding Companionship: “we had a casual chat” and “we made jokes and had fun”

Administration Format: self-report questionnaire


Reliability and Validity (Santiago 2023): initial validation in small sample of females from Netherlands

    • Principal Component Analysis (PCA): three components emerged
        • “Instrumental Support” (informational and instrumental)
        • “Intimate Support” (appraisal and emotional)
        • “Rewarding Companionship”
    • Reliabilities:
        • αInstrumental = 0.80
        • αIntimate = 0.77
        • αRewarding = 0.76)
    • Correlation between subscales: (r = 0.56; p < 0.001)

Available for Download as a PDF: Lin, N., Dean, A., Ensel, W.M. (1981) Social Support Scales: A Methodological Note. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 7(1), 73-89.


Source: https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Ft12441-000

supporting literature

Lin, N., Dean, A., Ensel, W.M. (1981) Social Support Scales: A Methodological Note. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 7(1), 73-89.
PDF: SSS – 1 – Lin 1981
Link: https://academic.oup.com/schizophreniabulletin/article/7/1/73/1939379?login=true

Shakespeare-Finch, J., Obst, P.L. (2011) The Development of the 2-Way Social Support Scale: A Measure of Giving and Receiving Emotional and Instrumental Support. Journal of Personality Assessment, 93(5), 483-490.
PDF: SSS – 2 – Shakespeare-Finch 2011
Link: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00223891.2011.594124?journalCode=hjpa20

Santiago, P.H.R., Smithers, L.G., Roberts, R., Jamieson, L. (2023). Psychometric Properties of the Social Support Scale (SSS) in two Aboriginal Samples. PLoS One, 18(1), e0279954.
PDF: SSS – 3 – Santiago 2023
Link: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0279954