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Older adults’ preferences for formal social support of autonomy and dependence in pain: development and validation of a scale

Abstract

Chronic pain among older adults is common and often disabling. Pain-related formal social support (e.g., provided by staff at day-care centers, nursing homes), and the extent to which it promotes functional autonomy or dependence, plays a significant role in the promotion of older adults’ ability to engage in their daily activities. Assessing older adults’ preferences for pain-related social support for functional autonomy or dependence could contribute to increase formal social support responsiveness to individuals’ needs. Therefore, this study aimed at developing and validating the preferences for formal social support of autonomy and dependence in pain inventory (PFSSADI). One hundred and sixty-five older adults with chronic musculoskeletal pain (M age = 79.1, 67.3% women), attending day-care centers, completed the PFSSADI, the revised formal social support for autonomy and dependence in pain inventory, and a measure of desire for (in)dependence; the PFSSADI was filled out again 6 weeks later. Confirmatory factor analyses showed a structure of two correlated factors (r = .56): (a) preferences for autonomy support (α = .99) and (b) preferences for dependence support (α = .98). The scale showed good test–retest reliability, sensitivity and discriminant and concurrent validity; the higher the preferences for dependence support, the higher the desire for dependence (r = .33) and the lower the desire for independence (r = −.41). The PFSSADI is an innovative tool, which may contribute to explore the role of pain-related social support responsiveness on the promotion of older adults’ functional autonomy when in pain.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Prof. Helena Carvalho for her help with statistics. This study was partially funded by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (SFRH/BD/79145/2011). We declare that there were no financial or other relationships that lead to conflicts of interest in the development of this research.

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Correspondence to Sónia F. Bernardes.

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Responsible editor: H.-W. Wahl.

Appendix: PFSSADI

Appendix: PFSSADI

Portuguese version

Durante toda a vida, a maior parte das pessoas sente dor de vez em quando. A dor pode ser uma experiência que dificulta o nosso dia-a-dia e a realização de várias tarefas quotidianas. Nestas circunstâncias, o apoio recebido nas instituições, como os Lares e Centros de Dia, pelas pessoas que aí trabalham pode ter um papel muito relevante no auxílio aos utentes com dores.

Com este questionário gostaríamos de conhecer as suas preferências face à ajuda que recebe quando tem dores. Por favor, faça um círculo num dos números de 1 a 5, mostrando em que medida concorda com cada uma das seguintes afirmações.

Muito obrigada pela sua colaboração.

Quando eu estou com dores, gosto que os/as funcionários/as desta instituição…

  Discordo totalmente Discordo Não concordo nem discordo Concordo Concordo totalmente
1. …me ajudem a tratar de aspetos práticos (ex., transporte, reservas, bilhetes) para que consiga participar em actividades/saídas sociais 1 2 3 4 5
2. …me incentivem a confiar na minha capacidade para continuar a funcionar 1 2 3 4 5
3. …me incentivem a participar nas actividades de lazer e diversão 1 2 3 4 5
4. …me digam para não insistir quando não me sinto capaz de tratar de alguns problemas 1 2 3 4 5
5. …me aconselhem a parar tudo o que estou a fazer 1 2 3 4 5
6. …me tragam tudo o que eu necessito para que não precise de me mexer 1 2 3 4 5

English version

Throughout life, most people feel pain from time to time. Pain can be a difficult experience that challenges our day-to-day and the performance of various daily tasks. In these circumstances, the support received in institutions, such as Nursing Homes and Day Centers, by the people who work there can have a very important role in helping clients with pain.

This questionnaire is designed to gather information about your preferences regarding the support received when experiencing pain. Please circle one of the numbers between 1 and 5, indicating the extent to which you agree or disagree with each of the following statements.

Thank you for your collaboration.

When I am in pain, I like it when the employees at this institution…

  Totally disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Totally agree
1. … help me to deal with practical aspects (e.g., transportation, reservations, tickets) so I can participate in activities/social outings 1 2 3 4 5
2. …encourage me to trust in my ability to keep on going 1 2 3 4 5
3. …encourage me to participate in leisure and fun activities 1 2 3 4 5
4. … tell me not to push myself when I feel unable of handling certain issues 1 2 3 4 5
5. … advise me to stop doing whatever I am doing 1 2 3 4 5
6. … bring me everything so that I don’t need to move 1 2 3 4 5

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Bernardes, S.F., Matos, M. & Goubert, L. Older adults’ preferences for formal social support of autonomy and dependence in pain: development and validation of a scale. Eur J Ageing 14, 257–268 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10433-017-0411-x

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10433-017-0411-x

Keywords

  • Pain
  • Social support preferences
  • Functional autonomy/dependence
  • Older adults
  • Scale development and validation