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cardiovascular disease, disease management, risk reduction, social support, survey



  1. Boutin-Foster, Carla MD, MS
  2. Alexander, Joshua MPH


BACKGROUND: Social support is an important resource for chronic disease management. However, it is not routinely assessed in the context of caring for patients with cardiovascular disease or as part of the cardiovascular rehabilitation process. The objective was to develop a survey designed to measure the types of social support that are necessary in cardiovascular disease prevention and management.


METHODS: Items were derived based on qualitative interviews with 63 patients regarding their perception of the most helpful types of social support in health behavior modification. Test-retest reliability was determined among 43 new patients. Factor analysis was conducted to determine the structural domains of the survey. The survey was then validated against the Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Survey in 130 patients.


RESULTS: The survey used, which was called Tangible, Informational, and Emotional Social Support Survey, contains 16 items that explore tangible, informational, and emotional social support. Cronbach coefficient was .80. Exploratory factor analysis revealed a 4-factor solution, which accounted for 54% of the total variance. Patients who were married had higher scores (P < .05), compared with those who were not and scores on Tangible, Informational, and Emotional Social Support Survey correlated with the scores on the Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Survey (r = 0.82).


CONCLUSIONS: Tangible, Informational, and Emotional Social Support Survey is a patient-derived, reliable, and valid social support survey. It can be used to capture salient aspects of social support that may facilitate health behavior modification in cardiovascular disease patients.