Construct validity of the social support survey in sport

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Objectives:Richman, J. M., Rosenfeld, L. B., & Hardy's, C. J. [(1993). The Social Support Survey: A validation of a clinical measure of the social support process. Research on Social Work Practice, 3, 288–311] model of social support is increasingly used as a framework for researching social support in sport, particularly in relation to sports injury. The Social Support Survey (SSS) is based upon this model. Through confirmatory factor analyses of the SSS, Rees, T., Hardy, L., Ingledew, D. K., & Evans, L. [(2000). Examination of the validity of the social support survey using confirmatory factor analysis. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 71, 322–330] questioned the construct validity of the SSS and the model it is based upon. This study further addresses the construct validity of the SSS.Design:Relationships between 5 of the SSS dimensions and a set of items with known relevance to sport were examined using structural equation modelling.Methods:College athletes (Symbol: 170 males, 150 females), mean age 19.94 (SD 2.23 years), ranging in ability from college level to international level, completed the 5 SSS dimension subscales and items representing 3 social support dimensions from Rees, T., & Hardy, L. [(2000). An investigation of the social support experiences of high-level sports performers. The Sport Psychologist, 14, 327–347].Results:SSS listening support (β=.39, Symbol) and SSS emotional support (β=.58, Symbol) explained 74% of the variance in the Rees and Hardy (2000) emotional support dimension. SSS task appreciation (β=.54, Symbol) and SSS task challenge (β=.40, Symbol) explained 68% of the variance in the Rees and Hardy esteem support dimension. SSS personal assistance (β=.43, Symbol) explained 18% of the variance in the Rees and Hardy tangible support dimension.Conclusions:These results provide some evidence of the construct validity of 5 of the SSS content factors in sport.

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