A systematic review evaluating the psychometric properties of measures of social inclusion
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Introduction: Improving social inclusion opportunities for population health has been identified as a priority area for international policy. There is a need to comprehensively examine and evaluate the quality of psychometric properties of measures of social inclusion that are used to guide social policy and outcomes. Objective: To conduct a systematic review of the literature on all current measures of social inclusion for any population group, to evaluate the quality of the psychometric properties of identified measures, and to evaluate if they capture the construct of social inclusion. Methods: A systematic search was performed using five electronic databases: CINAHL, PsycINFO, Embase, ERIC and Pubmed and grey literature were sourced to identify measures of social inclusion. The psychometric properties of the social inclusion measures were evaluated against the COSMIN taxonomy of measurement properties using pre-set psychometric criteria. Results: Of the 109 measures identified, twenty-five measures, involving twenty-five studies and one manual met the inclusion criteria. The overall quality of the reviewed measures was variable, with the Social and Community Opportunities Profile-Short, Social Connectedness Scale and the Social Inclusion Scale demonstrating the strongest evidence for sound psychometric quality. The most common domain included in the measures was connectedness (21), followed by participation (19); the domain of citizenship was covered by the least number of measures (10). No single instrument measured all aspects within the three domains of social inclusion. Of the measures with sound psychometric evidence, the Social and Community Opportunities Profile-Short captured the construct of social inclusion best. Conclusions: The overall quality of the psychometric properties demonstrate that the current suite of available instruments for the measurement of social inclusion are promising but need further refinement. There is a need for a universal working definition of social inclusion as an overarching construct for ongoing research in the area of the psychometric properties of social inclusion instruments.
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