Is Measuring Social Capital Culturally- And Group-Specific? Psychometric Validation of the New South Wales Social Capital Questionnaire Across Distinct Population Groups in Cyprus
METHODS: Data collected in three studies – a sample of Alzheimer’s’ caregivers and their age-matched neighbours (N=225), mothers of children with cancer and hospital controls (N=260) and professional nurses (N= 362), were pooled in order to assess the construct validity of the Greek-version of a 36-item tool (SCQ), originally developed in Australia and subsequently used in the USA and Greece.
RESULTS: Exploratory factor analysis yielded a similar 7-8 structure across all three Cypriot samples (48%-50% of the variance). While the factor configuration was not dissimilar from the postulated structure elsewhere, important differences were observed. “Participation in the local community” was the most robust factors across samples while, similarly to Greece, “social agency” was the most controversial. Identified as a small subset of the original items only among mothers, this did not reflect a generalised “pro-activity in a social context” as intended by culturally variant items such as “picking up other people’s garbage”. Also, “trust” (e.g. most people can be trusted) and “safety” (e.g. safe walking down your street after dark) were not always captured together. Finally, “neighbourhood” appears to take a different meaning (geographical construct Vs safe environment/sense of belonging) among an elderly and a younger population.
CONCLUSIONS: SCQ generally performs well in a different context; however several items appear culturally-sensitive and not of generic value across all population groups. Cognitive validation studies using qualitative methods are needed for developing cross culturally-appropriate or adapting existing tools.