Quality of Life Concepts

Secondary Health Conditions

Reciprocal Support Scale (RSS)

Description: A measure of social support (received and given). Individuals rate the frequency with which they receive four types of support: social interaction, material assistance, emotional support, and nonpaid personal assistance [1].

Format: 8 items ranked on a seven-point scale (1 = never; 7 = always) on each type of support received from families, friends, and community. As well, the frequency with which upsetting things happen between the respondents and members of their family, their friends, or their community are recorded.

Scoring: Not available.

Administration and Burden: Interviewer-administered; Self-administered. Approximately 10 – 15 minutes.

Psychometrics for SCI: Alpha coefficients from a spinal cord injury (SCI) sample ranged from .70 to .76 for the four types of support, with an average of .73. The alpha for the upsets scale was only .55; however, low internal consistency is expected given that the scale sums interactions with three groups of people (family, friends, and community).

Language(s): English.

QoL Concept: The RSS is a measure of Subjective Well-Being (Social Support), which corresponds to Boxes C (achievements) and E (subjective evaluations and reactions) of Dijker’s Model.

Permissions/Where to Obtain: Not available.

References:

  1. Anson CA, Stanwyck DJ, Krause JS. Social support and health status in spinal cord injury. Int J Paraplegia 1993;31:632-8.

CLICK ON THE LISTED SECONDARY HEALTH CONDITIONS ON THE LEFT TO READ HOW THE RSS HAS BEEN USED WITH A PARTICULAR CONDITION


Pain SCI Studies: One cross-sectional and longitudinal survey.

  1. Anson CA, Stanwyck DJ, Krause JS. Social support and health status in spinal cord injury. Int J Paraplegia 1993;31:632-8.

Sensitivity to Impact: Anson and colleagues (1993) used the Spinal Cord Injury Quality of Life Index (QOLI; a modified and revised version of the Life Situation Questionnaire) and the Reciprocal Support Scale (RSS) to explore relationships among social support, adjustment, and secondary complications in persons with spinal cord injury (SCI; N = 125), and to investigate the potential effects of persons’ perceptions that they contribute to the social support of others as well as receive social support from others. Results showed that social adjustment was associated with the presence of pain. People who believed they contributed to the community in some way perceived themselves to be better adjusted to their injury and had significantly fewer health problems (including pain) than those who believed they contributed little or nothing.

Suggestions for Use: The RSS appears to be an appropriate measure of social support for the SCI population, but further work is needed to establish the psychometric properties and clinical utility of this scale in relation to pain impact.

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