Measuring General Social Support in Alcoholic Patients: Short Forms for Perceived Social Support

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Previous studies identify a positive association between social support and favorable posttreatment functioning. The next step for this line of inquiry is to identify the mechanisms through which social relationships affect alcohol treatment outcome by discrimination of the types and sources of social support. This article presents versions of the Perceived Social Support instrument (M. Procidano & K. Heller, 1983), which measures support from both family and friends. The item sets are reduced from 20 to 7 and ask identical questions from these two support sources. The internal consistency for the Family scale (α = .84) and for the Friends scale (α = .81) is acceptable. Test–retest reliability is also good for both the Family (r = .94) and the Friends (r = .88) scales. Correlations with social functioning and alcohol involvement are similar between the short scales and the original 20 items. Normative levels of family and friends support by gender are presented. These scales expand the ability to include a multifaceted social support construct in comprehensive assessments of alcohol treatment populations.

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