Perceived Support Scale

Construct: Social support

Support systemDescription of Measure: Social support--or perceptions of help received from others--is widely studied as a psychological resource used to cope with stress. While there are many instruments available for measuring this construct, perceived social support of caregivers, we recommend a brief measure from the work of Krause (1995) and Krause and Borawski-Clark (1995). Received Support scales include Tangible Support, such as help with transportation (3 items); Emotional Support, such as having others listen and show interest (4 items); and Informational Support, such as sharing suggestions and information (4 items). Satisfaction with Support (3 items), and Negative Social Interaction, such as criticisms and demands by others (3 items), are also included. Although the scales are brief, their psychometrics are good, with alpha coefficients over .7 for all subscales.

These scales have been used in a number of studies, and findings support the construct validity of the scales. Higher levels of received support and satisfaction with support, and lower levels of negative social interactions, as measured with these scales, have been associated with better caregiver adjustment during dementia caregiving, particularly end-of-life care (Haley et al., 2003). Poorer social support has been found to be a risk factor for worse caregiver health (Pinquart & Sorensen, 2010). Improvements in satisfaction with social support after caregiver counseling has been shown to be an important mechanism underlying effective caregiver intervention (Roth et al., 2005).


Haley, W.E., LaMonde, L.A., Han, B., Burton, A.M., & Schonwetter, R. (2003). Predictors of depression and life satisfaction among spousal caregivers in hospice: Application of a stress process model. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 6,215-224.

Krause, N. (1995). Negative interaction and satisfaction with social support among older adults. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 50B, 59-73.

Krause, N., & Borawski-Clark, E. (1995). Social class differences in social support among older adults. The Gerontologist, 35, 498-508.

Pinquart, M., & Sorensen, S. (2010). Correlates of physical health of informal caregivers: A meta-analysis. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 62, 126-137.

Roth, D. L, Mittelman, M. S., Clay, O. J., Madan, A., & Haley, W. E. (2005). Changes in social support as mediators of the impact of a psychosocial intervention for spouse caregivers of persons with Alzheimer's disease. Psychology and Aging, 20, 634-644.