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Fam Med. 1988 Jul-Aug;20(4):271-6.

The reliability and validity of the maternal social support index.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics and Human Development, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824-1317.


The Maternal Social Support Index (MSSI) is a 21-item questionnaire designed to quickly assess qualitative and quantitative aspects of a mother's social support. Previous studies have found an association between scores on the MSSI and home stimulation of preschool children, child maltreatment, and low birthweight. This report examines the test-retest reliability, internal consistency and concurrent and predictive validity of the MSSI in three samples of mothers (N = 488) from a prenatal clinic, pediatric clinic, and psychology clinic. The MSSI was found to have a test-retest correlation of .72 (P less than 0.001) over six to eight weeks. Coefficient alphas ranged from .60 to .63 across the three samples, denoting moderate internal consistency. In the psychology clinic sample, the MSSI was found to be positively correlated with the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (r = .393, P less than 0.001) and inversely correlated with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (r = .296, P less than 0.001). The MSSI is a brief, reliable instrument with acceptable internal consistency and concurrent and predictive validity. It may be employed in the primary care arenas of clinical research and patient care to provide an organized assessment of maternal social support.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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