Measuring social support for weight loss in an internet weight loss community.
The purpose of this investigation was to develop and validate the Weight Management Support Inventory (WMSI). The WMSI assesses social support specifically for weight management. It quantifies the frequency and subjective helpfulness of supportive behaviors as well as examining four specific subtypes of support (emotional, instrumental, informational, and appraisal). The first stage of development (n=348) established the internal consistency (alpha) of the WMSI and also established the factor structure of the WMSI using confirmatory factor analysis. The second stage of development (n=237) demonstrated the construct, convergent, and discriminant validity of the WMSI. The WMSI provides a tool to allow future investigations to examine baseline levels of support for weight management and to verify changes in support via intervention. Additionally, the WMSI provides information that allows clinicians to tailor the social support component of weight management treatments to clients' individual needs.