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Psychiatr Serv. 2010 Apr;61(4):373-9. doi: 10.1176/ps.2010.61.4.373.

Stigma and depression treatment utilization among Latinos: utility of four stigma measures.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, 671 Hoes Ln., D306, Piscataway, NJ 08854-5635, USA.



Stigma associated with mental illness is an important yet understudied issue among Latinos. This study examined the psychometric properties of four stigma measures with a sample of Spanish-speaking Latino primary care patients. The study evaluated the scale for Perceived Discrimination Devaluation (PDD), the Stigma Concerns About Mental Health Care (SCMHC) scale, the Latino Scale for Antidepressant Stigma (LSAS), and the Social Distance (SD) scale.


Participants (N=200) were low-income Latinos who were screened for depression with the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-2) and asked about their depression treatment history, and they completed the four stigma measures at two time points (25 and 30 months from baseline). The four stigma measures were examined for internal consistency, convergent validity, construct validity, and criterion-related validity.


The factor-analytic results generally provided support for the construct validity of the measures. The four stigma measures also demonstrated internal consistency between two time points. Patients who reported greater social distance from individuals with depression were more likely to have been receiving treatment for emotional care in the past three months (odds ratio [OR]=.70, p<.05). Also, Latinos who scored high on the SCMHC (OR=.64, p<.05) and LSAS (OR=.77, p<.05) were less likely to have been taking antidepressant medications.


The SCMHC, LSAS, and SD scales received support for their reliability and construct validity. Results also showed some support for their criterion-related validity. A more mixed picture emerged for the PDD. Stigma ratings were associated with depression treatment utilization. Stigma ratings changed over time and were associated with treatment experiences.

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