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Ask the Mental Health Expert Archives 2001-2004

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Measure Stigmatization

Q. I have been looking for a survey tool that would measure stigmatization. I have not been able to find one, do you know of any such tool?

A. I am not aware of a scale that directly measures stigmatization, depending on what you mean by that term. However, you might take a look at the study entitled, "Assessing perceived social inequity: a relative deprivation framework," by A.F. Corning at the University of Notre Dame (J Pers Soc Psychol 2000 Mar;78(3):463-77). Corning describes a theoretically based method of assessing "perceived social inequity" and illustrates the approach through the development of an instrument assessing this experience in women's lives.

The Perceived Social Inequity Scale-Women's Form (PSIS-W) is grounded in relative deprivation theory (Davis, 1959), which states that discontent results from recognition of an unfair discrepancy between one's own situation and that of others. The psychometric quality of the 26-item PSIS-W was supported by consistent results across two factor analyses, strong temporal stability over 1- and 4-month intervals, and relationships found between it and a number of predicted variables. Another study that might interest you is by Penn et al (Schizophrenia Research, September 2000). These authors investigated the interpersonal factors that are related to the stigma of schizophrenia. They did not use a scale to measure stigmatization directly, but used a measure called "social distance" as a proxy measure of stigma.

April 2001

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