Child Indicators Research

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 515–528 | Cite as

The Perceived Parental Support (PPS) Scale: Validity and Reliability in the 2006 Youth in Europe Substance Use Prevention Survey

  • Alfgeir L. Kristjansson
  • Inga D. Sigfusdottir
  • Thorlakur Karlsson
  • John P. Allegrante


Parental support has been shown to reduce mental distress among adolescents; however, it is not known whether perceived parental support is a valid and reliable construct across culture. Using data from 23,605 14- to 15-year-olds across eight European cities we assessed the validity and reliability of the Perceived Parental Support (PPS) Scale. The distributional properties of the scale show a consistent pattern throughout the participating cities and Cronbach’s Alpha varies from.77 to.87. Fit statistics for the factor structure of the PPS were analyzed in three models using confirmatory factor analysis with AMOS 5 implementation of structural equation modeling. All models show an adequate fit to the data with the third and final model revealing a close to perfect fit with a comparative fit index of.988 and a root mean square error of approximation of.030. We also compared the PPS Scale with the SCL-90 subscale on depressed mood and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Correlations between the PPS and depressed mood (range −.24 to −.33) and Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (range.25 to.38) were reasonably consistent across the cities. More research on the PPS scale, including measurement invariance analyses between genders and across cultures, is recommended.


Scale development Social support Parental support Cross-cultural comparison 



This work was supported, in part, by grants from the Icelandic Alcohol and Drug Prevention Committee, the Icelandic Red Cross, the City of Reykjavik, and the Sports and Recreational Committee of Reykjavik to the Icelandic Centre for Social Research and Analysis, and by the Iceland/U.S. Fulbright Commission.


  1. Agnew, R. (1992). Foundation for a general strain theory of crime and delinquency. Criminology, 30, 47–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Agnew, R., & White, H. R. (1992). An empirical test of general strain theory. Criminology, 30, 475–499.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arbuckle, J. L., & Wothke, W. (1999). AMOS 4.0 User´s Guide. Chicago: Small Waters Corporation.Google Scholar
  4. Aseltine, R., Gore, S., & Gordon, J. (2000). Life stress, anger and anxiety, and delinquency: An empirical test of general strain theory. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 41, 256–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barrera, M., Jr., & Li, S. A. (1996). The relation of family support to adolescents´ psychological distress and behavior problems. In G. R. Pierce, B. R. Sarason, & I. G. Sarason (Eds.), Handbook of Social Support and the Family (pp. 313–343). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bean, R. A., Barber, B. K., & Crane, D. R. (2006). Parental support, behavioral control, and psychological control among African American youth—The relationships to academic grades, delinquency, and depression. Journal of Family Issues, 27, 1335–1355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bean, R. A., et al. (2003). The impact of parental support, behavioral control, and psychological control on the academic achievement and self-esteem of African American and European American adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Research, 18, 523–541.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bjarnason, T. (1995). Administration mode bias in a school survey on alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use. Addiction, 90, 550–559.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bjarnason, T., et al. (2005). Familial and religious influences on adolescent alcohol use: A multi-level study of students and school communities. Social Forces, 84, 375–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bland, J. M., & Altman, G. D. (1997). Cronbach’s alpha. British Medical Journal, 314(7080), 572.Google Scholar
  11. Byrne, B. M. (2004). Testing for Multigroup Invariance Using AMOS Graphics. A Road Less Traveled. Structural Equation Modeling, 11, 272–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Byrne, B. M., Muthén, B., & Shavelson, R. J. (1989). Testing for the Equivalence of Factor Covariance and Mean Structures: The Issue of Partial Measurement Invariance. Psychological Bulletin, 105, 456–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Carmines, E. G., & Zeller, R. A. (1979). Reliability and Validity Assessment. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  14. Cassell, J. (1976). The contribution of the social environment to host resistance. American Journal of Epidemiology, 104, 107–123.Google Scholar
  15. Cobb, S. (1976). Social support as a moderator of life stress. Psychosomatic Medicine, 38, 300–314.Google Scholar
  16. Cohen, S., & Wills, T. A. (1985). Stress, social support, and the buffering hypothesis. Psychological Bulletin, 98, 310–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Colvin, M., Cullen, F. T., & Ven, T. V. (2002). Coercion, social support, and crime: An emerging theoretical consensus. Criminology, 40, 19–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cronbach, L. J. (1951). Coefficient alpha and the internal structure of tests. Psychometrika, 22, 293–296.Google Scholar
  19. Cullen, F. T. (1994). Social support as an organizing concept for criminology: Presidential address to the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. Justice Quarterly, 11, 527–559.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dandy, J., et al. (2008). Psychometric properties of multigroup ethnic identity measure (MEIM) scores with Australian adolescents from diverse ethnocultural groups. Journal of Adolescence, 31, 323–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Derogatis, L. R., & Cleary, P. A. (1977). Confirmation of dimensional structure of SCL-90: Study in construct-validation. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 33, 981–989.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Derogatis, L. R., Lipman, R. S., & Covi, L. (1973). SCL-90: An outpatient psychiatric rating scale—Preliminary report. Psychopharmacology, 9, 13–28.Google Scholar
  23. Felson, R. B., & Zielinski, M. A. (1989). Children’s self-esteem and parental support. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 51, 727–735.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ferring, D., & Filipp, S. H. (1996). Measurement of self-esteem: Findings on reliability, validity, and stability of the Rosenberg scale. Diagnostica, 42, 284–292.Google Scholar
  25. Field, T., Diego, M., & Sanders, C. (2002). Adolescents´parent and peer relationships. Adolescence, 37, 121–130.Google Scholar
  26. Fuentes, C. S. C., et al. (2005). Data about validity and reliability of the Symptom Check List 90 (SCL 90) in a Mexican population sample. Salud Mental, 28, 72–81.Google Scholar
  27. Gerbing, D. W., & Anderson, J. C. (1993). Monte Carlo evaluations of goodness-of-fit indices for structural equation models. In K. A. Bollen & J. S. Long (Eds.), Testing Structural Equation Models (pp. 40–66). Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
  28. Henderson, A. S. (1992). Social support and depression. In H. O. F. Veiel & U. Baumann (Eds.), The Meaning and Measurement of Social Support (pp. 85–92). New York: Hemisphere.Google Scholar
  29. Hessel, A., et al. (2001). Symptom-Checklist SCL-90-R: Validation and standardization based on a representative sample of the German population. Diagnostica, 47, 27–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hirschi, T. (1969). Causes of Delinquency. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  31. Holi, M. M., Sammallahti, P. R., & Aalberg, V. A. (1998). A Finnish validation study of the SCL-90. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 97, 42–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. House, J. S. (1981). Work, Stress and Social Support. Reading: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  33. Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis. Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6, 1–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kim, J., & Mueller, C. W. (1978). Factor Analysis: Statistical Methods and Practical Issues. Newbury Park: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  35. Kristjansson, A. L. (2008). Concepts and Measures in the 2006 and 2008 Youth in Europe Survey. Reykjavik: Icelandic Centre for Social Research and Analysis.Google Scholar
  36. Kristjansson, A. L., et al. (2008). Social correlates of cigarette smoking among Icelandic adolescents: A population-based cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health, 8, 86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lin, N., Ye, X., & Ensel, W. M. (1999). Social support and depressed mood: A structural analysis. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 40, 344–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Martin-Albo, J., et al. (2007). The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale: Translation and validation in university students. The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 10, 458–467.Google Scholar
  39. Martinez, S., Stillerman, L., & Waldo, M. (2005). Reliability and validity of the SCL-90-R with Hispanic college students. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 27, 254–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Martinez-Ferrer, B., et al. (2008). The role of parental support, attitues to school, and self-esteem on school-based violence among adolescents. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 8, 679–692.Google Scholar
  41. Millsap, R. E. (1997). Invariance in measurement and prediction: Their relationship in the single factor case. Psychological Methods, 2, 248–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Needham, B. L. (2008). Reciprocal relationships between symptoms of depression and parental support during the transition from adolescence to young adulthood. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 37, 893–905.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Robins, R. W., Hendin, H. M., & Trzesniewski, K. H. (2001). Measuring global self-esteem: Construct validation of a single-item measure and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 151–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the Adolescent Self-Image. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Sampson, R. J., & Laub, J. H. (1994). Urban poverty and the family context of delinquency: A new look at structure and process in a classic study. Child Development, 65, 523–540.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sigfusdottir, I. D., Farkas, G., & Silver, E. (2004). The role of depressed mood and anger in the relationship between family conflict and delinquent behavior. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 33, 509–522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sigfusdottir, I. D., Kristjansson, A. L., & Allegrante, J. P. (2007). Health behaviour and academic achievement in Icelandic school children. Health Education Research, 22, 70–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sigfusdottir, I. D., Thorlindsson, T., & Bjarnason, T. (2007). Religion: Divine support and psychological tension. Social Compass, 54, 473–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sigfusdottir, I. D., et al. (2009). Substance use prevention for adolescents: The Icelandic Model. Health Promotion International, 24, 16–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Sigfusdóttir, I. D., et al. (2008). Trends in prevalence of substance use among Icelandic adolescents, 1995–2006. Substance Use Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, 3, 12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Springer, A., et al. (2006). Supportive social relationships and adolescent health risk behavior among secondary school students in El Salvador. Social Science & Medicine, 62, 1628–1640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Streiner, G. L., & Norman, D. R. (1995). Health Measurement Scales: A Guide to Their Development and Use (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2001). Using Multivariate Statistics (4th ed.). New York: Harper-Collins.Google Scholar
  54. Thorlindsson, T., & Bernburg, J. G. (2006). Peer groups and substance use: Examining the direct and interactive effect of leisure activity. Adolescence, 41, 321–339.Google Scholar
  55. Thorlindsson, T., & Bjarnason, T. (1998). Modeling Durkheim on the micro level: A study of youth suicidality. American Sociological Review, 63, 94–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Thorlindsson, T., Bjarnason, T., & Sigfusdottir, I. D. (2007). Individual and community processes of social closure: A study of adolescent academic achievement and alcohol use. Acta Sociologica, 50, 161–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Thorlindsson, T., & Vilhjalmsson, R. (1991). Factors related to cigarette smoking and alcohol use among adolescents. Adolescence, 26, 399–418.Google Scholar
  58. Thorlindsson, T., et al. (1998). Substance Use Among Young People [Vímuefnaneysla ungs folks: Umhverfi og aðstæður]. Reykjavik: Institute for Educational Research.Google Scholar
  59. Turner, R. J. (1999). Social support and coping. In A. V. Horwitz & T. L. Scheid (Eds.), A Handbook for the Study of Mental Health. Social Contexts, Theories, and Systems (pp. 198–210). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  60. Vallieres, E. F., & Vallerand, R. J. (1990). French translation and validation of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. International Journal of Psychology, 25, 305–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Vaux, A. (1988). Social Support: Theory, Research, and Intervention. New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  62. Wagner, B. M., Cohen, P., & Brook, J. S. (1996). Parent/adolescent relationships: Moderators of the effects of stressful life events. Journal of Adolescent Research, 11, 347–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wethington, E., & Kessler, R. C. (1986). Perceived support, received support, and adjustment to stressful life events. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 27, 78–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wright, J. P., & Cullen, F. T. (2001). Parental efficacy and delinquent behavior: Do control and support matter? Criminology, 39, 677–701.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alfgeir L. Kristjansson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Inga D. Sigfusdottir
    • 1
    • 2
  • Thorlakur Karlsson
    • 1
  • John P. Allegrante
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Icelandic Centre for Social Research and Analysis, School of Health and EducationReykjavik UniversityReykjavíkIceland
  2. 2.Department of Health and Behavior Studies, Teachers CollegeColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public HealthColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations