An international study on measuring social support: Interactions and satisfaction

D.M Doeglas, Th.P.B.M. Suurmeijer, S Briancon, B Krol, T. Moum, R. Sanderman, A. Bjelle, W.J.A. van den Heuvel

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Recently, a new instrument was developed to measure social support. It consists of two parts; the Social Support Questionnaire for Transactions (SSQT) and the Social Support Questionnaire for Satisfaction with the supportive transactions (SSQS). The SSQT measures the number of supportive interactions and has proved to have good psychometric properties. From the taxonomy that was used for the present study, it results that social support in general consists of two aspects. These are, on the one hand, actual supportive transactions and, on the other hand, the perception of being supported or the satisfaction with the social support provided. In the present study, two research questions were addressed. The first concerned the psychometric properties of the SSQS, measuring the individual's satisfaction with the supportive interactions provided. Secondly, the relative contribution of both supportive interactions (the SSQT) and the satisfaction with the support provided (the SSQS) were assessed, in explaining the level of health related quality of life outcome. The data of 744 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients from four different countries (116 French, 238 Norwegian, 98 Swedish and 292 Dutch patients) were used in the present study. At the entry of the study, all patients fulfilled four out of seven American Rheumatism Association (ARA) criteria and had a disease duration of 4 years or less. The results of the study indicate that the SSQS has good psychometric properties across countries. Cronbach's alpha for the emotional support scales was 0.80 or more, and for the instrumental support subscales around 0.60. The standardized regression coefficients demonstrated that, compared to supportive interactions, support satisfaction was more relevant in explaining health related quality of life measures, although it is recommended that the SSQT and SSQS be used to complement each other. Copyright (C) 1996 Elsevier Science Ltd

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1389-1397
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Nov-1996


  • social support
  • supportive interactions
  • support satisfaction
  • quality of life
  • LIFE

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