The reliability and validity of the Maternal Social Support Index

J. M. Pascoe, N. S. Ialongo, W. F. Horn, M. A. Reinhart, D. Perradatto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


The Maternal Social Support Index (MSSI) is a 21-item questionnaire designed to quickly assess qualitative and quantitative aspects of a mother's social support. Previous studies have found an association between scores on the MSSI and home stimulation of preschool children, child maltreatment, and low birthweight. This report examines the test-retest reliability, internal consistency and concurrent and predictive validity of the MSSI in three samples of mothers (N = 488) from a prenatal clinic, pediatric clinic, and psychology clinic. The MSSI was found to have a test-restest correlation of .72 (P < 0.001) over six to eight weeks. Coefficient alphas ranged from .60 to .63 across the three samples, denoting moderate internal consistency. In the psychology clinic sample, the MSSI was found to be positively correlated with the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (r = .393, P < 0.001) and inversely correlated with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (r = .296, P < 0.001). The MSSI is a brief, reliable instrument with acceptable internal consistency and concurrent and predictive validity. It may be employed in the primary care arenas of clinical research and patient care to provide an organized assessment of maternal social support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-276
Number of pages6
JournalFamily medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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