Social Support 2012 (C)


Level of social support, based on the Oslo Social Support Scale (OSS-3). Social support is defined as the perceived availability of people whom the individual trusts and who make one feel cared for and valued as a person.

The questions below are included in the in Statistics Norway's survey of level of living. Scores for each question are added together: 3-8 points is classified as poor support, 9-11 points as intermediate support, and 12-14 points as strong support.

The questions were included in the survey for the first time in 2005, but the wording of question 2 was changed in 2008, 2012 and 2015. The figures are therefore not entirely comparable between 2005, 2008, 2012 and 2015 thus only 2015 figures are presented here.

Question wording in 2015:

1. How many people are so close to you that you can count on them if you have serious problems?
- none (1 point)
- 1 or 2 (2 points)
- 3-5 (3 points)
- 6 or more (4 points)

2. How much concern do people show in what you are doing?
- much interest (5 points)
- some interest (4 points)
- neither much or little interest (3 points)
- little interest (2 points)
- no interest (1 point)

3. How easy can you get practical help from neighbours if you should need it?
- very easy (5 points)
- easy (4 points)
- possible (3 points)
- difficult (2 points)
- very difficult (1 point)

Full Title

Social Support 2012 (C)

Identification Number



Name Affiliation Abbreviation Role
Statistics Norway SSB

Date of Production


Contact Person

Name Affiliation E-mail address Universal Resource Identifier
Øyvind Hesselberg

Date of Distribution



Date: 2018-01-11

Type: Endelig


The method used for age standardisation is indirect standardisation using a fixed population reference. The reference is the sum of men and women in 5-year age groups in Norway in 2015.


Geographical level

Country, health region and counties


Both genders

Age groups

16-74 years

Time periods


Kind of Data

Statistics based on fewer than 3 cases is hidden to protect the identity of the patients. Figures are also hidden when the population group in which the cases originate, is smaller than 10 persons.

If more than 20 per cent of the cases in a time series are hidden due to the abovementioned reasons, the complete time series is hidden to avoid giving a skewed impression.
The complete time series is also hidden if more than 50 per cent of the values in the series are based on fewer than 6 cases. In this case, the figures are regarded as too uncertain.

Frequency of updates

Every 3-4 years


Data is collected every 3-4 years from Statistics Norway's survey of level of living. A nationally representative sample of 10 000 individuals is drawn, with around 7 000 completing the survey via a personal or telephone interview. Survey participants are required to assess their own health, illness, disability, living habits and utility of health services. People living in institutions are not included. Each survey provides an indication of the population's health at a given point in time (cross-sectional survey). Repition of the survey provides an indication of developments in health over time. Nationally representative data.


helse, selvrapportert, god helse, dårlig helse, uhelse, vanhelse, sunnhet, usunnhet, frisk, syk, sykdom

Data quality

Reasonable data quality. The Oslo Support Scale (OSS-3) has lower reliability and validity than the 6-item Brief Social Support Questionnaire (BSSQ) and it is recommended by the EU Working Party for Mental Health that the OSS-3 is eventually replaced by the BSSQ. The health survey is a stable and regular source of data about different aspects of the population's health. In recent years, the survey has had a stable participation rate of around 70%, which is good compared with other health surveys in Norway. These deviations, however, are usually small and do not have a significant effect on the results.

Related Materials

Social support - fact sheet (in Norwegian only)

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