Psychometric properties of a Chinese version of the Stigma Scale: examining the complex experience of stigma and its relationship with self-esteem and depression among people living with mental illness in Hong Kong

Andy H Y Ho, Jordan S Potash, Ted C T Fong, Vania F L Ho, Eric Y H Chen, Robert H W Lau, Friendly S W Au Yeung, Rainbow T H Ho
Comprehensive Psychiatry 2015, 56: 198-205

BACKGROUND: Stigma of mental illness is a global public health concern, but there lacks a standardized and cross-culturally validated instrument for assessing the complex experience of stigma among people living with mental illness (PLMI) in the Chinese context.

AIM: This study examines the psychometric properties of a Chinese version of the Stigma Scale (CSS), and explores the relationships between stigma, self-esteem and depression.

METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was conducted with a community sample of 114 Chinese PLMI in Hong Kong. Participants completed the CSS, the Chinese Self-Stigma of Mental Illness Scale, the Chinese Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and the Chinese Patient Health Questionnaire-9. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted to identify the underlying factors of the CSS; concurrent validity assessment was performed via correlation analysis.

RESULTS: The original 28-item three-factor structure of the Stigma Scale was found to be a poor fit to the data, whereas a revised 14-item three-factor model provided a good fit with all 14 items loaded significantly onto the original factors: discrimination, disclosure and positive aspects of mental illness. The revised model also displayed moderate to good internal consistency and good construct validity. Further findings revealed that the total stigma scale score and all three of its subscale scores correlated negatively with self-esteem; but only total stigma, discrimination and disclosure correlated positively with depression.

CONCLUSION: The CSS is a short and user-friendly self-administrated questionnaire that proves valuable for understanding the multifaceted stigma experiences among PLMI as well as their impact on psychiatric recovery and community integration in Chinese communities.

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