Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Social Work

Major Professor

William R. Nugent

Committee Members

Shandra S. Forrest-Bank, Hillary N. Fouts, Lisa M. Reyes-Mason, John G. Orme


This multipart dissertation focuses on the psychometric quality of neighborhood social measurement instruments, specifically the Sense of Community Index. The first paper is a systematic literature review of neighborhood social instruments. The findings indicated that while initial evidence of psychometric quality of these instruments was promising, there is further validation work to be done on these instruments. The author recommended further validation of the neighborhood social characteristics measurement tools, specifically the Sense of Community Index. The second and third papers followed the research recommendations of the first paper. The second paper examined the measurement equivalence of the Sense of Community Index among rural, suburban, and urban neighborhoods. The findings of this paper indicated metric invariance of the SCI, and partial scalar invariance. Specifically, results indicated the presence of differential item functioning for three items. Recommendations include the exclusion of those three items in future research comparing sense of community among different neighborhood types and further examination of the measurement invariance of the SCI. The third paper examined the evidence of convergent and divergent validity of the SCI. The findings of this study indicated evidence of convergent and divergent validity for the SCI. Recommendations for future research include replication and further validation of the SCI.

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