[French translation, validation and adaptation of the Stigma Scale]

S Morandi, S Gibellini Manetti, G Zimmermann, J Favrod, A Chanachev, M Monnat, C Bonsack
L'Encéphale 2013, 39 (6): 408-15

AIM: People suffering from mental illness are exposed to stigma. However, only few tools are available to assess stigmatization as perceived from the patient's perspective. The aim of this study is to adapt and validate a French version of the Stigma Scale (King et al., 2007 [8]). This self-report questionnaire has a three-factor structure: discrimination, disclosure and positive aspects of mental illness. Discrimination subscale refers to perceived negative reactions of others. Disclosure subscale refers mainly to managing disclosure to avoid discrimination and finally positive aspects subscale taps into how patients are becoming more accepting, more understanding toward their illness.

METHOD: In the first step, internal consistency, convergent validity and test-retest reliability of the French adaptation of the 28-item scale were assessed in a sample of 183 patients. Results of confirmatory factor analyses (CFA) did not confirm the hypothesized structure. In the light of the failed attempts to validate the original version, an alternative 9-item short-form version of the Stigma Scale, maintaining the integrity of the original model, was developed based on results of exploratory factor analyses in the first sample and cross-validated in a new sample of 234 patients.

RESULTS: Results of CFA did not confirm that the data fitted well to the three-factor model of the 28-item Stigma Scale (χ(2)/df=2.02, GFI=0.77, AGFI=0.73, RMSEA=0.07, CFI=0.77 and NNFI=0.75). Cronbach's α was excellent for discrimination (0.84) and disclosure (0.83) subscales but poor for potential positive aspects (0.46). External validity was satisfactory. Overall Stigma Scale total score was negatively correlated with the score on Rosenberg's Self-Esteem Scale (r=-0.49), and each subscale was significantly correlated with a visual analogue scale that referred to the specific aspect of stigma (0.43≤|r|≤0.60). Intraclass correlation coefficients between 0.68 and 0.89 indicated good test-retest reliability. The results of the CFA demonstrated that the items chosen for the short version of the Stigma Scale have the expected fit properties (χ(2)/df=1.02, GFI=0.98, AGFI=0.98, RMSEA=0.01, CFI=1.0 and NNFI=1.0). Considering the small number (three) of items in each subscale of the short version of the Stigma Scale, α coefficients for discrimination (0.57), disclosure (0.80) and potential positive aspects subscales (0.62) are considered as good.

CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that the 9-item French short version of the Stigma Scale is a useful, reliable and valid self-report questionnaire to assess perceived stigmatization in people suffering from mental illness. The time of completion is really short and questions are well understood and accepted by the patients.

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