Social support in general, and the availability of help from family or friends, is positively associated with medication adherence. An assessment of a person’s perception of, and need for, a social support network can be as important as the person’s readiness to change when determining his or her level of motivation. The Duke-UNC Functional Social Support Questionnaire (FSSQ) is an eight-item instrument to measure the strength of the person’s social support network (Broadhead et al., 1988).
Ask the person to read each statement on the FSSQ and check the box that most closely matches his or her feelings about the question. There are five potential answers to each questions ranging from “As much as I would like” to “Much less than I would like.” All questions must be answered to complete the scoring process.
Responses to each question are scored on a 1 to 5 scale. “As much as I would like” receives a score of 5 and “Much less than I would like” receives a score of 1. The scores from all eight questions are summed (maximum 40) and then divided by 8 to get an average score. The higher the average score, the greater the perceived social support.
The older person may score well on this questionnaire but have a single issue that will need to be resolved before he or she is ready to take steps to become adherent to their medication regimen. Also, this questionnaire will only help identify social support issues with the older adult; it will not resolve them. Some social support issues identified by the older adult may be very difficult to resolve.