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Aging Ment Health. 2015;19(5):464-74. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2014.944092. Epub 2014 Aug 18.

Association between perceived social stigma against mental disorders and use of health services for psychological distress symptoms in the older adult population: validity of the STIG scale.

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  • 1a Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences , University of Sherbrooke , Longueuil , QC , Canada.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To document the reliability, construct and nomological validity of the perceived Social Stigmatisation (STIG) scale in the older adult population.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional survey.

SETTING:

Primary medical health services clinics.

PARTICIPANTS:

Probabilistic sample of older adults aged 65 years and over waiting for medical services in the general medical sector (n = 1765).

MEASUREMENTS:

Perceived social stigma against people with a mental health problem was measured using the STIG scale composed of seven indicators.

RESULTS:

A second-order measurement model of perceived social stigma fitted adequately the observed data. The reliability of the STIG scale was 0.83. According to our results, 39.6% of older adults had a significant level of perceived social stigma against people with a mental health problem. RESULTS showed that the perception of social stigma against mental health problems was not significantly associated with a respondent gender and age. RESULTS also showed that the perception of social stigma against the mental health problems was directly associated with the respondents' need for improved mental health (b = -0.10) and indirectly associated with their use of primary medical health services for psychological distress symptoms (b = -0.07).

CONCLUSION:

RESULTS lead us to conclude that social stigma against mental disorders perceived by older adults may limit help-seeking behaviours and warrants greater public health and public policy attention. Also, results lead us to conclude that physicians should pay greater attention to their patients' attitudes against mental disorders in order to identify possible hidden mental health problems.

KEYWORDS:

ageing; epidemiology; primary health services clinics; stigmatisation

PMID:
25133640
[PubMed - in process]
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