Mental Health Stigma in Religious Communities: Development of a Quantitative Measure
While mental health stigma is a burgeoning field of research, little work has been done on whether mental health stigma in different subcultures is the same or different as the general population. There is qualitative evidence that beliefs about the etiology and effective treatments for mental illness differ in religious communities as compared to the general population, but efforts to quantify this difference have been sparse and reflect poor methodology. The purpose of the present study is to create and validate a measure of mental health stigma in religious communities. Items will be generated using extant literature and revised after expert review and piloting. In Study 1, the items were tested with 703 undergraduate students at a large Midwestern university. Exploratory Factor Analysis was then used to determine a factor structure with good fitting items. In Study 2, items were retested with a second sample of undergraduate students at the same university, to conduct a Confirmatory Factor Analysis, to cross-validate the scale, and to measure convergent and discriminate validity using several scales measuring related constructs. The outcome is a psychometrically strong, valid self-report instrument to measure mental health stigma in religious communities.