AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 18, Issue 12, pp 2274–2284 | Cite as

Development of the Scale of Perceived Social Support in HIV (PSS-HIV)

  • Aaron CortesEmail author
  • Nigel Hunt
  • Sue McHale
Original Paper


Social support (SS) plays a key role for HIV/AIDS prevention and disease management. Numerous general and disease-specific SS instruments have been developed and perception of support has been increasingly considered, though no scales have been specifically developed to measure perceived social support (PSS) in HIV/AIDS. To help fill this gap a 12-item scale was developed. The study comprised 406 (HIV(+) and HIV(−)) participants from Chile and the UK. A principal component factor analysis yielded three factors explaining 77.0 % of the total variance: Belonging, Esteem and Self-development with Cronbach α of 0.759, 0.882 and 0.927 respectively and 0.893 on the full scale. The PSS-HIV is brief, easy-to-apply, available in English and Spanish and evaluates the perception of supportive social interactions. Further research is needed to corroborate its capacity to detect psycho–socio–immune interactions, its connection with Maslow’s hierarchy of need theory and to evaluate its properties for different health states.


Perceived social support HIV/AIDS Scale development Biopsychosocial Factor analysis 


El apoyo social (AS) juega un rol clave en la prevención y manejo del VIH/SIDA. Numerosos instrumentos de AS general y para enfermedades específicas han sido desarrollados y han incluido progresivamente el componente perceptivo, sin embargo; ninguna escala ha sido desarrollada específicamente para evaluar el apoyo social percibido (ASP) en VIH/SIDA. La presente escala de 12 ítems, intenta llenar este vacío. Se incluyeron 406 (VIH+ y VIH−) participantes de Chile y el Reino Unido. El análisis factorial de componentes principales arrojó tres factores explicando 77.0 % de la varianza total; Pertenencia, Estima y Auto-desarrollo con Cronbach α de 0.759, 0.882 y 0.927 respectivamente y 0.893 para la escala. Fácil de aplicar, breve y disponible en inglés y castellano; el ASP-VIH evalúa el apoyo percibido en las interacciones sociales. Futuras investigaciones deberán corroborar su capacidad para detectar interacciones psico-socio-inmunológicas, su conexión con la Teoría de Necesidades de Maslow y sus propiedades en otros estados de salud.

Palabras clave

Percepción del Apoyo social VIH/SIDA Escala Biopsicosocial Análisis factorial 



This research was funded by the Chilean Government through the Development for Human Capital Programme from the National commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT; from Spanish acronym) and supported by the Clinical Research Support Office (OAIC; from Spanish acronym) of the Universidad de Chile Clinical Hospital. We wish to thank the participants from the UK and Chile; for the time devoted and their kind contribution to the study. It is important to acknowledge the contribution of the board of directors of the Derbyshire Positive Support, who collaborated pro bono and actively.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Seccion de Inmunologia, VIH y AlergiasHospital Clinico Universidad de ChileSantiagoChile
  2. 2.Division of Psychiatry and Applied Psychology, School of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamUK
  3. 3.Brain Behaviour and Cognition Group, Faculty of Development and SocietySheffield Hallam UniversitySheffieldUK

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