Psychometric evaluation of the Active Support Measure

Dr Lincoln Humphreys1, Professor Christine Bigby1, Dr Tal Araten-Bergman1, Professor Teresa Iacono2

1La Trobe University, Bundoora, Australia, 2La Trobe University, Bendigo, Australia

The Active Support Measure (ASM) is the most frequently used observational measure of quality of staff support for people with intellectual disabilities in supported accommodation services. The ASM comprises 15 items. Studies show that ASM scores predict service users’ levels of engagement. Despite being used in numerous studies, the ASM’s underlying factor structure has not been examined and our aim was to test its psychometric properties.

Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted on the ASM using a dataset of 884 people with intellectual disabilities living in Australian group homes, collected between 2010 and 2018 as part of a study to identify Active Support predictors. Rasch analysis further tested the dimensionality and the consistency that response options behaved across items.

EFA indicated that 10 items loaded on two factors. These factors were Supporting Engagement in Activities and Relationship with the Person. Cronbach’s alpha was .94 and .78. Rasch analysis supported multidimensionality, indicated 10 items should be retained, with response options (scores of 0-2) behaving consistently across items.

The ASM measures two dimensions of the quality of support. A revised 10-item version will be easier for researchers to use and can form the basis for a tool for non-researchers.


Lincoln is a researcher and lecturer at the Living with Disability Research Centre.