Purpose: This study aimed to validate a 6-item 1-factor global measure of social support developed from the Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Survey (MOS-SSS) for use in large epidemiological studies.
Methods: Data were obtained from two large population-based samples of participants in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health. The two cohorts were aged 53-58 and 28-33 years at data collection (N = 10,616 and 8,977, respectively). Items selected for the 6-item 1-factor measure were derived from the factor structure obtained from unpublished work using an earlier wave of data from one of these cohorts. Descriptive statistics, including polychoric correlations, were used to describe the abbreviated scale. Cronbach's alpha was used to assess internal consistency and confirmatory factor analysis to assess scale validity. Concurrent validity was assessed using correlations between the new 6-item version and established 19-item version, and other concurrent variables.
Results: In both cohorts, the new 6-item 1-factor measure showed strong internal consistency and scale reliability. It had excellent goodness-of-fit indices, similar to those of the established 19-item measure. Both versions correlated similarly with concurrent measures.
Conclusion: The 6-item 1-factor MOS-SSS measures global functional social support with fewer items than the established 19-item measure.