Depression Self-Stigma: A New Measure and Preliminary Findings


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Abstract

It is widely recognized that stigmatization of mental disorders leads stigmatized individuals to avoid treatment altogether or discontinue treatment prematurely. Literature suggests that the impact of stigma may differ by diagnosis; however, previous attempts to measure self-stigma have not been disorder specific. This study sought to develop the Depression Self-Stigma Scale (DSSS) and identify distinct constructs associated with depression self-stigma. Items for the initial administration of the DSSS were developed through careful review of existing measures and the literature on stigma and depression. Items were administered to undergraduates and community members with self-reported depression (N = 391). Results indicated 5 factors (general self-stigma, secrecy, public stigma, treatment stigma, and stigmatizing experiences) with good factor structure, internal consistency, and evidence for construct validity.

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