Aim: To investigate the reliability and validity of the Japanese version of the abbreviated Lubben Social Network Scale (LSNS-6), which is used worldwide as a screening tool for social isolation in elderly individuals.
Methods: An interview-format questionnaire survey was given to 232 elderly community residents undergoing general health checkups. In addition to the Japanese version of the LSNS-6, other questionnaire items regarding social support, the Japanese version of the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS), base attributes, and self-ratings of health, physical function and suicidal ideation were obtained. The internal consistency, test-retest, and interrater reliability of the Japanese version of the LSNS-6 were determined using the Cronbach α correlation, Spearman correlation, and intraclass correlation coefficients, respectively. Construct validity was investigated by comparison with the results of a previous study, while concurrent validity was determined in relation to SDS scores as well as questionnaire items on social support.
Results: The Cronbach α coefficient was 0.82, the correlation coefficient for the test-retest was 0.92 (P<0.001), and the intraclass correlation coefficient for interrater reliability was 0.96 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.90-0.99). Mean scores on the Japanese version of the LSNS-6 increased as the number of household members increased (P=0.033), but decreased among elderly individuals at risk of suicide (P=0.026), and tended to decrease among those with a poor self-rated health score (P=0.081). Scores on the Japanese version of the LSNS-6 had a significant negative correlation with SDS scores (P<0.001) On 4 of the 5 questionnaire items on social support, and those without social support had significantly lower mean scores on the Japanese version of the LSNS-6 (P<0.05) than those with social support.
Conclusions: We confirmed the reliability and validity of the Japanese version of the abbreviated LSNS-6.