Abstract: Psychometric Evaluation and Validation of the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support Among Burmese Refugees (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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552P Psychometric Evaluation and Validation of the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support Among Burmese Refugees

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Kareen Tonsing, PhD, Associate Professor of Social Work, Oakland University, Rochester, MI
Background and Purpose: Numerous studies have consistently demonstrated the beneficial role of social support for maintaining physical and psychological health. A major challenge in measuring the outcomes of interest for ethnic groups is selecting standardized, validated instruments in appropriate languages, and ensuring that the selected measure have adequate psychometric properties for the group. One notable social support measure is the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS) developed by Zimet et al. (1988), which measures perceived social support from Family, Friends, and Significant Other. While the MSPSS has been translated into several languages and has been validated widely, it has not been translated into Chin Burmese. The aim of the current study was to validate the Chin Burmese version of the MSPSS among Burmese resettled adults in the United States (U.S.).

Methods: Data for this cross-sectional study came from 242 resettled Burmese adults, aged 18 years and above, who have lived in the U.S. for a mean year of 5.4. Respondents completed a set of questionnaires including demographic information, the Chin Burmese versions of the MSPSS (MSPSS-CB), and the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10-CB). Factor analysis was performed to assess the structural validity of the MSPSS-CB. Reliability was assessed using the Cronbach’s alpha, and construct validity assessed with correlation analysis between MSPSS-CB and K10-CB.

Results: Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 78, with a mean age of 35.45 (SD=10.11). Most were males (53.3%), married (79.3%), employed (69%), and 49.6% had completed high school. An exploratory factor analysis extracted a three-factor solution of the MSPSS-CB, with all items loading highly (.61 and above) on each of the respective subscales. Factor 1 (Significant Others) accounted for 54.17% (eigenvalues=6.50), Factor 2 (Family) accounted for 13.48% (eigenvalues=1.62), and Factor 3 (Friends) accounted for 9.05% (eigenvalues=1.08) of the variance, in combination accounting for 76.7% of the total variance. Intercorrelation analysis reveal significant correlations between Significant Other with Family, r=.65; Significant Other with Friends, r=.66; and Family and friends, r=.55, confirming the scale’s factor structure. The internal reliability of the full MSPSS-CB was α.92, and .89, .88 and .90 for the Significant Other, Family, and Friends subscales, respectively. Findings revealed significant inverse correlations between the Significant Others subscale with the K10-CB (r=-20, p<.01), the Friends subscale (r=-.27, p<.01) and the Family subscale (r=-.15, p<.01), supporting the construct validity of the MSPSS-CB.

Conclusions and Implications: The three-factor structure of the original MSPSS is confirmed in the current study and participants could clearly differentiated between the three sources of support. This suggests that for Chin Burmese, the sources of perceived social support from the three sources are considered to be independent but internally consistent. The results of this study show good construct validity, internal consistency and content validity of the MSPSS-CB, suggesting that it can be used confidently among this population. The availability of a measure of social support in the Chin Burmese language can provide a viable measurement tool for helping professionals and researchers seeking to evaluate social support among this population.