SSSS (Sources of Social Support Scale)

Together with Mike Antoni and a number of other people, I have been involved for several years in research on the effects of a multi-modal cognitive-behavioral stress management intervention on the psychosocial well-being of breast cancer patients. In the course of this work, several questions have arisen about social support. One question is whether different sources of support matter in different ways (e.g., partner, friends, health care providers).  Another question is how different aspects of support differ.  Indeed, there is a developing literature suggesting that negative support is more impactful than positive support. Neither of these questions is new--both have been asked by other people. However, we found ourselves not entirely satisfied with how existing measures differentiated these variables from each other. We developed an item set of our own, which has now been used in at least two longitudinal studies of cancer patients (breast and prostate cancer).

Kinsinger, S. W., Carver, C. S., Antoni, M. H., & Laurenceau, J-P. (2011). Perceived partner support and psychosexual adjustment to breast cancer. Psychology and Health, 26, 1571-1588. [abstract]


The SSSS has a separate section for each potential source of support being assessed.  Each section uses essentially the same items (with appropriate changes of pronouns).


Proper citation is as follows:

Carver, C. S. (2006). Sources of Social Support Scale. http://www.psy.miami.edu/faculty/ccarver/sclSSSS.html

Here are the instructions for the SSSS, and the items as they would be applied to husband/partner.

These items concern the kinds of help and support you get from various people regarding your illness.  The items ask about several different sets of people, but apply the same questions to each. Use the following choices for these items:

1 = Not at all
2 = A little
3 = A moderate amount
4 = A pretty large amount
5 = A lot

A.  The first items concern your husband/partner.  [If you do not have a husband/partner, leave these items blank and skip to section B].

1.  How much does your husband/partner give you advice or information about your breast cancer (whether you want it or not)?
2.  How much does your husband/partner give you assistance with things related to your breast cancer (for example, helping you with daily chores, driving you places, dealing with bills and paperwork)?
3.  How much does your husband/partner give you reassurance, encouragement, and emotional support (affection) concerning your breast cancer?
4.  How much does your husband/partner listen to and try to understand your worries about your breast cancer?
5.  How much can you relax and be yourself around your husband/partner?
6.  How much can you open up to your husband/partner if you need to talk about your worries about your cancer?
7.  How often does your husband/partner argue with you relating to your cancer?
8.  How often does your husband/partner criticize you relating to your cancer?
9.  How often does your husband/partner let you down when you are counting on him?
10.  How often does your husband/partner withdraw from discussions about your illness or try to change the topic away from your illness?

B.  The next items concern adult women in your family (sisters, mother, aunts or adult daughters).  [If you do not have adult women in your family, leave these items blank and skip to section C]. 

Subsequent sections in this particular application are other family members, friends, and health care providers.


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Carver

Measures Available
University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology