Groningen Orthopaedic Social Support Scale: validity and reliability

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Abstract

Background

Social support is an important factor in the rehabilitation process, as it has a positive influence on patients' health, functioning and recovery. In particular, perceived social support and instrumental support are important after total hip or knee arthroplasty. However, nursing staff often appear to estimate the amount of support available to patients by number of visitors. Until now, no suitable Dutch-language scale was available to measure social support in orthopaedic patients.

Aim

The aim of this paper is to describe the development and initial validity and reliability testing of the Groningen Orthopaedic Social Support Scale, a self-report questionnaire to measure social support in patients after total hip or knee arthroplasty.

Methods

A total of 119 people who had had arthroplasty completed the Groningen Orthopaedic Social Support Scale and a control scale. The reliability and validity of the questionnaire were analysed.

Results

Reliability of the Groningen Orthopaedic Social Support Scale can be considered satisfactory, with a Cronbach's alpha of 0·89. Analysis of construct validity by means of factor analysis yielded two factors: perceived social support and instrumental support. A Pearson's correlation between these subscales was moderate (r = 0·61 and statistically significant). Concurrent validity can be considered satisfactory, with a Pearson correlation of 0·72 (P < 0·001) between the Groningen Orthopaedic Social Support Scale and the control list.

Conclusions

The Groningen Orthopaedic Social Support Scale can be considered suitable for measuring social support. It can be used to help nursing staff determine if a patient's need for social support is fulfilled, and to advise family and friends on the basis of the results. The questionnaire can also be used to establish the role of social support as a factor in supportive interventions during and after hospital stay.

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