A Measure of Perceived Family Stigma: Validity in a Military Sample

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The primary aim of the present study was to evaluate the reliability and validity of the newly developed Perceived Family Stigma Scale (PFSS) in a diverse sample of 623 military veterans. The PFSS is a 4-item scale that has acceptable internal consistency (α = .86) and strong interitem correlations (r = .51 to .76). Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) indicated the single factor model was a good fit statistically (χ2[df = 2, N = 620] = .34, p = .84) and descriptively (CFI = 1.00, RMSEA < .001). Multigroup CFA was performed to test the measurement invariance of the PFSS across demographic indicators. The PFSS achieved full scalar invariance across deployment history, education level, urban/rural location, marital status, and military rank, and partial scalar invariance across gender, ethnicity/race, and income level. Results of a logistic regression analysis indicated significant relationships of mean PFSS scores and gender with likelihood of needing help for an emotional problem, above and beyond a measure of self- and public stigma. Specifically, each point increase in mean PFSS scores predicted an almost 4 times higher probability of reporting a need for help, and men were also 6 times more likely than women to report a need for help. However, there was a significant relationship between the PFSS and gender such that, for women, each 1 point increase in mean PFSS scores predicted a likelihood of reporting a need/desire for help for an emotional problem 3 times that of men.

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