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A Normative Sample of the Social Adaptation Self-Evaluation Scale


K Jefferies, T Gale

National OCD Specialist Service, Herts. Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Queen Elizabeth II Hospital, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, UK

1. Kiri Jefferies- Research Assistant, QEII Hospital.

2. Professor Tim Gale- Research and development lead and visiting professor of the Universityof Hertfordshire.




Aims and Method. The aim of this study was to test healthy participants on the Social Adaptation Self-Evaluation Scale (SASS- Bosc, 1997) a questionnaire designed to measure various areas of social functioning. Previously, the SASS has been tested on a sample of healthy controls in France and our aim was to replicate that study and to provide a normative sample specific to the UK. 1739 individuals completed the SASS via an online survey website.

Results. The mean score on the SASS across the group was 42.35 (SD=6.37). Males and females scored very similarly as did the different age groups. Five items yielded a notably lower score compared with the other items.

Clinical implications. This study provides a normative SASS profile for the UK which will be useful for clinical and research comparison purposes.



The Social Adaptation Self-Evaluation Scale (SASS) is a 21-item scale measuring social motivation and behaviour. It covers various areas of social functioning including work, spare time, family, environmental organisation, and coping abilities. First developed by Bosc et al. (1997), the SASS was originally validated using over 3000 individuals from the general population of France and 549 patients with major depression (Bosc, 1997). Bosc, 1997 found that the ‘normal’ score range is between 35 and 52 points (test range 0-60; with higher scores denoting better functioning) with social maladjustment being defined as a score of less than 25. In the same study, the SASS proved to be sensitive to change and when retested on over 1400 participants, also showed good test-retest reliability. More recently, the Chinese version of the SASS (C-SASS) has been validated by testing 208 healthy volunteers (Tse & Bond, 2007). The C-SASS proved highly reliable and showed good validity when compared with the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI).


1739 individuals (1216 female [70%], 523 male [30%]) completed the SASS. The average age for participants was 27.9 years (SD= 10.47). When split for gender, females had a mean age of 28.40 (SD= 10.80) and males had a mean age of 26.90 (SD= 9.72). In total, 1270 (73.1%) individuals were employed and 469 (26.9%) were unemployed.

Task procedure
The SASS scale comprises 21 questions relating to different areas of social functioning. Each question has four possible responses from which the participant is asked to select one. Each response has a value of between 0 and 3 (although this information is not divulged to the participant) with 0 indicating poorer functioning than 3. Scoring the total for the questionnaire requires the points from each item to be added together.

All participants completed the SASS via an online survey website. Individuals were sent an email containing a link that allowed them direct access to the questionnaire.


Results showed the mean score of this normative sample to be 42.35 (SD=6.37). There was very little difference between the sexes (Male: Mean= 42.35, SD= 6.95; Female: Mean= 43.72, SD=6.06). Mean scores for each item overall, and split for sex, can be seen in table 1.



Table 1. Mean scores and standard deviations on each SASS item. Overall and split for sex.



SD= standard deviation




There were particular items of interest on which both males and females scored lower than other items; these were as follows:

(1) Item 5: ‘Is the quality of your spare time’ (very good [3], good [2], fair [1], unsatisfactory [0])
(2) Item 9: ‘Do you try to form relationships with others’ (very actively [3], actively [2], moderately [1], in no active way [0]),
(3) Item 14: ‘To what extent are you involved in community life (such as club, church, etc)?’ (Fully [3], moderately [2], slightly [1], not at all [0])
(4) Item 17: ‘How often do you find it difficult to express your opinions to people?’ (Always [0], often [1], sometimes [2], never [3])
(5) Item 20: ‘To what extent do you have difficulties in managing your resources and income?’ (Always [0], often [1], sometimes [2], never [3])


The results from this UK sample yielded a distribution similar to that found by Bosc et al. 1997. There were no noteworthy differences in SASS scores with regard to gender or age. However, the distribution of mean item scores was not uniform. Lower scoring items were with reference to spare time, relationships, ability to express opinions, community life and finances.
Low scores on these items may be due to the age or type of participant involved in the study. A large proportion of participants were university students and average scores between individuals younger than 20 years of age and those 50+ showed the following significant differences; The <20 group felt that they were able to form relationships better than the 50+ group (t(419)=.266, p=.008). In contrast, the 50+ group scored significantly higher in the ability to express opinions (t(172.26)=-3.64, p<.001) and ability to control finances (t(419)= -4.29, p<.001). No significant differences were found between the groups for items 5 (spare time) and 14 (community life).

The SASS test was previously tested on a French sample of healthy participants. We have replicated the previous study using participants in the UK, therefore providing a nationality specific normative sample. Our results appear to have mirrored that of the French sample in that an average score on the SASS, as expected, was also found in our sample. This data may be utilised by researchers as baseline information when using the SASS in their own research. The use of the scale on individuals with mental health disorders has been established by the original study (Bosc, 1997), however, this data gives a good suggestion that use of the SASS on healthy controls is also reasonable.




Bosc M, Dubini A, Polin V. Development and validation of a social functioning scale, the Social Adaptation Self-evaluation Scale. European Neuropsychopharmacology 1997; 7, Suppl. 1, 57–70.

Tse WS, Bond AJ. Psychometric analysis of the Chinese version of Social Adaptation
Self-evaluation Scale (C-SASS). Psychiatry Research 2007; 153, 277–281.


First Published August 2011

Copyright Priory Lodge Education Limited 2011-

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