Carnegie Mellon University

Social Control


Tucker Social Control (TSC)



Copyright Information

Not a copyrighted scale

Primary References

1. Tucker, J. S. (2002). Health-related social control within older adults' relationships. Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 57, P387-P395.

2. Tucker, J. S. & Anders, S. L. (2001). Social control of health behaviors in marriage. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 31, 467–485.


To assess the extent to which individuals’ health-related behaviors are influenced by members of their social networks.  The TSC operationalizes social control in terms of being direct or indirect.  Direct (or explicit) social control involves overt actions performed by significant members of one’s social network that prompt him or her to engage in healthy behaviors.  Indirect (or implicit) social control involves one’s being incentivized to engage in a healthier lifestyle by a perceived obligation to or responsibility for others.


The measure is comprised of 2 sections.  In the first section, respondents identify by initials and relationship (e.g., friend, brother, etc.) up to 10 members of their social network whom they feel influence their health-related behaviors.  In the second section, respondents use a 4-point visual analog scale to indicate the frequency with which their family and friends encourage them to engage in healthy behaviors, discourage them from engaging in unhealthy behaviors, and maintain the expectation that the respondent act in a healthy way.


1 = Never, 4 = Often

Number of Items

 10 (1 listing item + 9 visual analog scale items)

Sample Items

  • List up to 10 people who influence your health behaviors by either encouraging you to participate in healthy behaviors or discouraging you from participating in unhealthy behaviors.
  • They drop hints that I should engage in healthy behavior.
  • I feel a sense of responsibility to them to try to stay in good health.


Internal Consistency (Cronbach’s α)

  • In 181 older adults aged 65-80 years (Tucker, 2002):  0.80 for direct and indirect subscales
  • In PCS3 (n = 213):  0.82 for direct, 0.83 for indirect


In 69 married couples aged 19-56 years, spouses’ ratings on TSC items correlated with their partners’ perceptions of their behavioral responses to social control attempts (Tucker & Anders, 2001).


Social Control Network Size:  total number of names listed in section 1 (range = 0-10)

Direct Social Control:  sum items 1-5

Indirect Social Control:  sum items 6-9