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Keywords

measurement, social support

 

Authors

  1. Gigliotti, Eileen

Abstract

Background: The Norbeck Social Support Questionnaire was designed to measure three functional types of social support: (a) affect, (b) affirmation, and (c) aid. Due to high intercorrelations among factors, it has been impossible to empirically disentangle these three factors using exploratory factor analysis.

 

Objective: To confirm the originally hypothesized three-factor structure of the Norbeck Social Support Questionnaire by imposing theoretically motivated constraints upon the model.

 

Method: With pooled data (N = 457) from two previous studies, the parameters of the hypothesized LISREL model were estimated by the Generally Weighted Least Squares Method using an asymptotic covariance matrix.

 

Results: The Norbeck Social Support Questionnaire measures three functional types of social support: (a) AFFECT, (b) AFFIRMATION, and (c) AID ([chi]2 = 8.42, df = 6, p = .208). These three factors are highly correlated and their unique error terms are uncorrelated.

 

Conclusions: The Norbeck Social Support Questionnaire is a valid and reliable measure of total network support, as well as three functional types of social support. The three functional types of social support should be calculated and used in analyses, when appropriate. To support the development of context-specific theories, the efficacy of specific functional types of social support from specific network members should be investigated.