Introduction to the Lubben Social Network Scale

The importance of social ties in the lives of older people is becoming increasingly recognized as strong associations have consistently been found between social support networks with physical and mental health outcomes. For example, low scores on the LSNS have been correlated with mortality, all-cause hospitalization and depression (Lubben & Gironda, 2004). Increased awareness of the importance of social support networks for older adults has spurned the need for assessment tools to help flag these people during a comprehensive assessment of the elderly client.

This growing interest in social networks has lead to a vast amount of research in this area which has lead to some inconsistencies in definitions and thus measures of social networks. For example, this construct has been given various labels such as social bonds, social supports, social networks, social integration, social ties, meaningful social contacts, confidants, human companionships, reciprocity, guidance, emotional support, and organizational involvement. This has therefore led to a proliferation of measurement scales, some which lack adequate validity and reliability (Lubben & Gironda, 2003).

The development of the LSNS was done in order to provide both clinical and research communities with a scale that offers improved administrative and psychometric properties.

Lubben, J., Gironda, M. (2004). Measuring social networks and assessing their benefits. In Social Networks and Social Exclusion: Sociological and Policy Perspectives. Eds. Phillipson, C., Allan, G., Morgan, D. Ashgate.  

Lubben, J., Gironda, M. (2003). Centrality of social ties to the health and well-being of older adults. In Social Work and Health Care in an Aging Society. Eds. Berkman. B., Harootyan, L. Springer Publishing Company.

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