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Open Access Research article

Development of a Community Commitment Scale with Cross-sectional Survey Validation for Preventing Social Isolation in Older Japanese People

Ayumi Kono1*, Etsuko Tadaka2, Yukiko Kanaya1, Yuka Dai2, Waka Itoi2 and Yuki Imamatsu2

Author Affiliations

1 School of Nursing, Osaka City University, 1-5-17 Asahi, Abeno, Osaka, 545-0051, Japan

2 School of Nursing, Yokohama City University, 3-9 Fukuura, Kanazawa, Yokohama, Kanagawa, 236-0004, Japan

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BMC Public Health 2012, 12:903  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-903

Published: 24 October 2012

Abstract

Background

Elderly social isolation could be prevented by facilitating communication or mutual helping at the neighborhood level. The helping of elderly neighbors by local volunteers may relate to their community commitment (CC), but ways to measure CC have not been identified. The aim of the present study was to develop a Community Commitment Scale (CCS) to measure psychological sense of belonging and socializing in the community among local volunteers, for research in prevention of elderly social isolation. We also tested the CCS in a general population of the elderly.

Methods

A pilot test of 266 Japanese urban residents was conducted to examine face validity for 24 identified items, of which 12 items were selected for the CCS, based on a 4-point Likert-type scale. The CCS was developed via self-report questionnaires to 859 local volunteers in two suburban cities and to 3484 randomly sampled general residents aged 55 years or older living in one of the cities. To assess concurrent validity, data were collected using the Brief Sense of Community Scale (Peterson; 2008) and two types of single questions on self-efficacy for helping elderly neighbors.

Results

Item analysis and factor analysis identified 8 items, which were classified between two datasets under the domains of “belonging” and “socializing” in the local volunteers and the general residents. Cronbach’s alpha (which conveyed the internal consistency of the CCS) was 0.75 in local volunteers and 0.78 in general residents. The correlation coefficients between the scores of the CCS and BSCS were 0.54 for local volunteers and 0.62 for general residents. ANOVA comparing the CCS between the confidence levels of the two types of single question of self-efficacy on helping elderly neighbors showed a strong relationship in the volunteers and residents.

Conclusions

These results demonstrate acceptable internal consistency and concurrent validity for the CCS, with the two dimensions “belonging” and “socializing”, among the local volunteers and general residents in urban Japanese areas. Community commitment measured by the CCS was related to the degree of confidence for self-efficacy in helping elderly neighbors to prevent elderly social isolation.

Keywords:
Community commitment; Elderly social isolation; Neighbor; Scale development; Self-efficacy for helping elderly neighbors