To construct an index that represents the general level of social problems among Canadian provinces and territories.
Factor weights were used to combine provincial and territorial rates for homicide, attempted murder, assault, sexual assault, robbery, divorce, suicide, and alcoholism into a single Social Problem Index.
The resulting index demonstrated strong positive intercorrelations among its factors across provinces. That is, provinces that showed high rates on one factor tended to show high rates on the others as well. The validity of the Social Problem Index is demonstrated by its positive correlation with an independent measure of the likelihood of having experienced personal trauma.
The robust nature and apparent validity of the Social Problem Index suggest that it can be well used for needs assessments and theoretical studies and as a feedback mechanism to national, provincial, and community leaders on the social problem status of their particular jurisdictions.