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Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS)
Please visit this website for more information about the instrument: Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS)
Supplemental: Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) and SCI-Pediatric (ages 12 and older)
Short Description of Instrument
The MSPSS is a 12-item measure which assesses perceptions of social support from family members, friends, and significant others. The three subscales, each addressing a different source of support, were identified and found to have strong factorial validity:
(a) Family, (b) Friends, and (c) Significant Other. In addition, the MSPSS has good internal and test-retest reliability as well as moderate construct validity. High levels of perceived social support are associated with low levels of depression and anxiety symptomatology as measured by the Hopkins Symptom Checklist.
Comments/Special Instructions
The instrument is designed to measure perceived adequacy of support from three sources:
Family (Items 3, 4, 8 and 11)
Friends (Items 6, 7,9 and 12) and
Significant Other (Items 1, 2, 5 and 10)
Psychometric Properties:
Cronbach's alpha values were obtained for the entire scale as well as for each subcale (Zimet et al. 1988):
Significant Other: 0.72
Family: 0.85
Friends: 0.75
MSPSS: 0.85
The MSPSS was found to demonstrate good internal reliability and stability.
Construct validity: Evaluation of the MSPSS and its correlation with anxiety and depression symptoms demonstrated r = -0.25, p = 0.01.
The MPSS has been found to be psychometrically sound across different subject groups (Zimet et al. 1990).
Responses are formatted on a 7 point Likert scale with 1 meaning "very strongly disagree", 2 "strongly disagree", 3 "mildly disagree", 4 "neutral", 5 "mildly agree", 6 "strongly agree", and 7 "very strongly agree." A total of 12-48 indicates low acuity, 49-68 moderate acuity, and 69-84 high acuity.
Zimet GD, Dahlem NW, Zimet SG, & Farley GK. The multidimensional scale of perceived social support. J Pers Assess. 1988; 52(1), 30-41.
Canty-Mitchell J, & Zimet GD. Psychometric properties of the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support in urban adolescents. Am J Community Psychol. 2000; 28(3), 391-400.
Dahlem NW, Zimet GD, & Walker RR. The Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support: a confirmation study. J Clin Psychol. 1991; 47(6), 756-761.
Zimet GD, Powell SS, Farley GK, Werkman S, & Berkoff KA. Psychometric characteristics of the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support. J Pers Assess. 1990; 55(3-4), 610-617.


Document last updated April 2020