Scoring Rules for the
Berlin Social Support Scales (BSSS, Schwarzer & Schulz, 2000)
The Berlin Social Support Scales (BSSS, Schwarzer & Schulz,
2000) were developed based on theoretical considerations and reviews of
established measurement instruments for social support. The multidimensional
approach of measuring social support is a unique feature that distinguishes this
inventory from other questionnaires. The 6 subscales of the BSSS (perceived,
actually provided and received support, need for support, support seeking,
protective buffering) measure both cognitive and behavioral aspects of social
support. All items were
discussed by an expert panel and partly revised after a pilot study with cancer
patients. Items of the received/provided support subscales referring to
unfavorable support behavior of the partner were omitted from our study after
patients expressed rejection of those statements.
The answering format is the same for all subscales: Patients rate their agreement with the statements on a four-point scale. Possible endorsements are strongly disagree (1), somewhat disagree (2), somewhat agree (3) and strongly agree (4). Negative items need to be reversed. Scale scores are obtained either by adding up item responses (sum scores) or by generating the scale mean score.
Furthermore, three BSSS subscales, i.e., perceived support, received and provided support, respectively, allow for further distinction of different kinds of support. In some research contexts, a fine-grained analysis of various support types may be of great value. The perceived support subscale comprises items of emotional and instrumental support; adding up the respective items yields two discrete scores for each support type. Similarly, overall received and provided support scores can be split up by summarizing emotional, instrumental, and informational support item scores for each subscale separately.
For further questions, please contact the authors by e-mail.
Psychometric properties of the BSSS have been reported in German in:
Schulz, U. & Schwarzer, R. (2003). Soziale Unterstützung bei der Krankheitsbewältigung. Die Berliner Social Support Skalen (BSSS) [Social support in coping with illness: The Berlin Social Support Scales (BSSS)]. Diagnostica, 49, 73-82.
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