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Gerontologist. 2006 Aug;46(4):503-13.

Performance of an abbreviated version of the Lubben Social Network Scale among three European community-dwelling older adult populations.

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  • 1School of Social Work, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

There is a need for valid and reliable short scales that can be used to assess social networks and social supports and to screen for social isolation in older persons.

DESIGN AND METHODS:

The present study is a cross-national and cross-cultural evaluation of the performance of an abbreviated version of the Lubben Social Network Scale (LSNS-6), which was used to screen for social isolation among community-dwelling older adult populations in three European countries. Based on the concept of lack of redundancy of social ties we defined clinical cut-points of the LSNS-6 for identifying persons deemed at risk for social isolation.

RESULTS:

Among all three samples, the LSNS-6 and two subscales (Family and Friends) demonstrated high levels of internal consistency, stable factor structures, and high correlations with criterion variables. The proposed clinical cut-points showed good convergent validity, and classified 20% of the respondents in Hamburg, 11% of those in Solothurn (Switzerland), and 15% of those in London as at risk for social isolation.

IMPLICATIONS:

We conclude that abbreviated scales such as the LSNS-6 should be considered for inclusion in practice protocols of gerontological practitioners. Screening older persons based on the LSNS-6 provides quantitative information on their family and friendship ties, and identifies persons at increased risk for social isolation who might benefit from in-depth assessment and targeted interventions.

PMID:
16921004
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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