The British Journal of Psychiatry
The Stigma Scale: development of a standardised measure of the stigma of mental illness
Michael King, Sokratis Dinos, Jenifer Shaw, Robert Watson, Scott Stevens, Filippo Passetti, Scott Weich, Marc Serfaty


Background There is concern about the stigma of mental illness, but it is difficult to measure stigma consistently.

Aims To develop a standardised instrument to measure the stigma of mental illness.

Method We used qualitative data from interviews with mental health service users to develop a pilot scale with 42 items. We recruited 193 service users in order to standardise the scale. Of these, 93 were asked to complete the questionnaire twice, 2 weeks apart, of whom 60 (65%) did so. Items with a test–retest reliability kappa coefficient of 0.4 or greater were retained and subjected to common factor analysis.

Results The final 28-item stigma scale has a three-factor structure: the first concerns discrimination, the second disclosure and the third potential positive aspects of mental illness. Stigma scale scores were negatively correlated with global self-esteem.

Conclusions This self-report questionnaire, which can be completed in 5–10 min, may help us understand more about the role of stigma of psychiatric illness in research and clinical settings.

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