A psychometrically sound instrument is essential for the study of children's subjective impressions about social support. To evaluate such an instrument, 249 children, 6-12 years old, from a population-based sample of black and white families (50% single mothers, 50% two parents) were studied. The newly developed instrument, "My Family and Friends," consists of 12 dialogues, based on Vygotskian principles, and yields information about (a) children's perceptions of the availability of individuals in their networks to provide different types of social support and (b) their satisfaction with the help they receive. Children collaborate in interactive dialogues and manipulate personalized props. Collectively, the data indicate that subjective impressions about social support can be measured in a reliable and valid manner from early childhood through adolescence, and that children understand and care about the quality and the differentiation of support (i.e., emotional, informational, instrumental, and companionship) within their social support networks. Further, children report significant variations in social support when undergoing major family upheaval.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology