Social Support Among Older Adults

The Social Support Among Older Adults Measure is a 41-item measure that is aimed at capturing social support specifically for use in studies examining the impact of stressful life events on the health and well-being of older adults. The scale is a modification of existing instruments from studies in the general population that take a social stress/life events perspective.


Geographies Tested: United States of America

Populations Included: Female, Male

Age Range: Adults


Informational Support

1.Told you what they did in a stressful situation that was similar to one you were experiencing
2.Suggested some action that you should take in dealing with a problem you were having
3.Gave you information that made a difficult situation clearer and easier to understand
4.Helped you understand why you didn‘t do something well
5.Told you who you should see for assistance with a problem that you were having
6.Commented on how you were dealing with a problem without saying it was good or bad
7.Checked back with you to see if you followed advice you were given on how to deal with a problem

Tangible Support

8.Provided you with a place where you could get away for a while
9.Watched after your possessions while you were away
10.Gave or loaned you over $25
11.Provided you with some transportation
12.Loaned or gave you something (a physical object other than money) that you needed
13.Provided you with a place to stay overnight
14.Pitched in to help you do something that needed to get done, like household chores or yard work
15.Looked after a family or household member while you were away
16.Helped you with shopping

Emotional Support

17.Right there with you (physically) in a stressful situation
18.Told you you were OK just the way you are
19.Comforted you by showing you physical affection
20.Listened to you talk about your private feelings
21.Told you they felt very close to you
22.Joked and kidded to try to cheer you up
23.Expressed interest and concern in your well-being
24.Went with you to see someone who helped you with a problem that you were having
25.Told you that they would keep the things you talked about privately just between the two of you
26.Did some activity together with you to help you get your mind off things
27.Told you how they felt in a situation that was similar to yours


28.Depended on you for your guidance and advice
29.Depended on you for financial help
30.Talked over their problems and private feelings with you
31.Depended on you for transportation
32.Depended on you for something they needed (a physical object other than money)
33.Helped someone with their household chores
34.Helped someone with their shopping
35.Been right there with someone (physically) when they were experiencing a stressful situation
36.Comforted someone by showing them physical affection
37.Expressed interest and concern in someone’s well-being
38.Told someone what you did in a stressful situation that was similar to one they were going through
39.Suggested some action someone should take to deal with a problem they were having
40.Told someone where they could go for assistance with a problem they were having

Response Options:
1 = never
2 = once in a while
3 = fairly often
4 = very often

Scoring Procedures

Not Available

Original Citation

Krause, N., & Markides, K. (1990). Measuring social support among older adults. The International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 30(1), 37-53.

Psychometric Score

Ease of Use Score

Scoring breakdown

Formative Research

Qualitative Research

Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

Field Expert Input

Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing








Criterion (gold-standard)



Ease of Use


Scoring Clarity


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