Perceived Public Stigma
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About Perceived Public Stigma
We measured perceived public stigma using an adaptation of the DiscriminationDevaluation (D-D) Scale developed by Link and colleagues, which has been used in several previous studies (Link, 1987; Link, Cullen, Struening, Shrout, & Dohrenwend, 1989). The D-D scale asks people how much they agree with each of 12 statements that begin with “Most people believe . . .” or “Most people think . . . ,” or “Most people would . . .” followed by a stereotype, example of discrimination, or the opposite (an accepting view or behavior). The original D-D scale refers to a “mental patient” or a “former mental patient” or a person “who has been hospitalized for mental illness.”
We adapted the wording to refer instead to “a person who has received mental health treatment” because our objective was to measure perceived stigma regarding a broader concept of mental health treatment (rather than institutional treatment for severe mental illness per se). As in the original D-D scale, the answer choices were on a 6-point Likert scale: strongly agree, agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, disagree, strongly disagree. As in the original use of the scale, we constructed an index of perceived stigma by coding each response as 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 (with higher numbers referring to answers indicating higher perceived stigma) and calculating the average across the 12 items for each individual. We found a high internal reliability (Cronbach’s α = .89) in this adapted scale.
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