Psychometric properties of the MSPSS in older adults


Enhanced social support is associated with increased physical and psychological health among the elderly. Although measures of social support generally are used as predictors of wellbeing, they also may be useful as outcome assessments to evaluate breadth of treatment effects. Perceived adequacy of the support network may be most relevant in this regard given its relationship to affective symptomatology. One measure of this component that has been used with older adults is the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS). However, no study has examined the psychometric properties of the MSPSS in older individuals with well-diagnosed psychiatric disorders, and no normative data are available from older adults selected carefully to be free of diagnosable pathology. The current study examined the psychometric properties of the MSPSS in two groups of older adults (ages 55-82), one with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD, N = 50) and the other without diagnosable psychopathology (n = 94). Perceived social support was higher among normal control (NC) participants than patients with GAD. Internal consistency and test-retest reliability were strong, and sub-scale validity and factor analyses demonstrated consistency with findings from younger adults. Overall, the MSPSS appears useful for clinical trials with older anxious adults.

Publication Title

Aging and Mental Health