Social Support Questionnaire (SSQ)

BioPsychoSocial Assessment Tools for the Elderly - Assessment Summary Sheet

Test: Social Support Questionnaire (SSQ)

Year: 1983

Domain: Social

Assessment Tool Category: Social Support

Variations/Translations: A six-item version of the SSQ was described by Sarason et al. (1987). This version has shown a very high correlation with other social support measures and is appropriate when a time constraint restricts the completion of the full scale.

Setting: Community

Method of Delivery: Self administered

Description: The Social Support Questionnaire (SSQ) is used to quantify the availability and satisfaction with social support that an individual has. It is a 27 item self-administered scale. Each item involves two parts: respondents are asked to list the individuals that are available to them for help in specific situational circumstances, and how satisfied they are with the support available. Each situational circumstance allows a participant to list up to nine individuals (who are indentified through their initials and relationships with the respondent).

Scoring/Interpretation: Satisfaction rating for each situational circumstance is the same regardless of the situation given. A six point rating scale (from “very satisfied” to “very dissatisfied”) is used to rate the individual’s satisfaction with his or her support available. A support score for each item is calculated by the number of individuals the participant listed (number score). The overall support score (SSQN) is calculated by the mean of this scores across the items. The overall satisfaction score is calculated by the means of the 27 satisfaction scores (McDowell & Newell, 1996).

Time to Administer: 5 minutes (Sarason et al., 1983)

Availability: Found in Sarason et al. (1983).

Software: None

Website: None

Quantitative/Qualitative: Quantitative

Validity (Quantitative): Criterion validity tests show a significant negative correlation between the SSQ and a depression scale (ranging from -0.22 to -0.43), and correlations of 0.57 and 0.34 were obtained between an optimism scale and the satisfaction score and the number score, respectively (Sarason et al., 1983).

Reliability (Quantitative): ): The number scores yielded an inter-item correlation ranging from 0.35 to 0.71 (m=0.54). The Cronbach’s alpha for internal reliability was 0.97. The inter-item correlations for the satisfaction scores ranged from 0.21 to 0.74, and the coefficient alpha was 0.94. Test-retest correlations of 0.90 for overall number scores and satisfaction scores of 0.83 were obtained (Sarason et al., 1983).


McDowell, I. & Newell, C. (1996). Measuring Health: A Guide to Rating Scales and Questionnaires. (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. Pp. 130-134.

Sarason, I.G., et al. (1983). Assessing social support: the Social Support Questionnaire. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44, 127-139.

Sarason, I.G., et al. (1987). A brief measure of social support: practical and theoretical implications. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 4, 497-510.

Comments: None.