COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Experiences of stigma among people with severe mental illness. Reliability, acceptability and construct validity of the Swedish versions of two stigma scales measuring devaluation/discrimination and rejection experiences

Tommy Björkman, Bengt Svensson, Bertil Lundberg
Nordic Journal of Psychiatry 2007, 61 (5): 332-8
17990193
Stigma has been identified as one of the most important obstacles for a successful integration of people with mental illness into the society. Research about stigma has shown negative attitudes among the public towards people with mental illness. Studies so far have, however, put little emphasis on how these negative attitudes are perceived by the mentally ill persons. The aim of the present study was to investigate acceptability and internal consistency of the Swedish versions of two stigma scales, the Devaluation and Discrimination scale and the Rejection experiences scale. Forty individuals were subject to an interview, which also comprised assessments of needs for care, quality of life, therapeutic relationship and empowerment. The results showed that both the Devaluation and Discrimination scale and the Rejection experiences scale had a good internal consistency and acceptability. Stigma in terms of perceived devaluation and discrimination was found to be most markedly associated with empowerment and rejection experiences was found to be most associated with the number of previous psychiatric admissions. It is concluded that the Swedish versions of the Devaluation and Discrimination scale and the Rejection experiences scale may well be used in further studies of stigma among people with mental illness.

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