The Quantification of Social Contacts and Resources

by Cathy A. Donald, John E. Ware

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This report presents the results from empirical tests of strategies for scoring social well-being items fielded by RAND's Health Insurance Experiment (HIE). Section II presents background material, a conceptual framework for social well-being measurements, an outline of measurement issues and strategies involved in quantifying questionnaire responses, and a summary of how other investigators have constructed social well-being measures. Section III describes the methodology used in the HIE. Sections IV and V present results of empirical analyses, recommend a scoring rule for each of the 11 HIE social well-being items, and describe the results of scaling analyses including descriptive statistics, interrelationships among measures, the reliability of resulting scores, associations between social well-being measures and selected sociodemographic and health variables, and effects of socially desirable responding on social well-being measures. Section VI discusses the findings and offers suggestions for future research based on the experiences with HIE measures.

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