Comparison of the 18-item and 6-item Lubben Social Network Scales with community-dwelling older adults in Mongolia

This study compares the psychometric properties of two versions of the Lubben Social Network Scale (LSNS-18 and LSNS-6) with community dwelling older adults in Mongolia. We recruited 650 older adult in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar and the country’s four rural regions. We used the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-15), the Short Form 12 (SF-12) physical and mental health functioning measures, and a multi-dimensional scale of social isolation for confirmatory factor analyses of the LSNS-18 and the LSNS-6. Both versions demonstrated excellent internal consistency and intraclass correlation and both correlated in expected directions with other study measures. Only the LSNS-6 provided a good fit to the data. The LSNS-6 is a viable instrument for assessing the social networks of older adults in Mongolia. The study adds to the sparse literature on measuring social and behavioral determinants of health in resource-constrained settings characterized by aging populations and high internal migration rates.