Factors and measurement of mental illness stigma: a psychometric examination of the Attribution Questionnaire

Psychiatr Rehabil J. 2008 Fall;32(2):89-94. doi: 10.2975/32.2.2008.89.94.


Objective: A number of scales are employed to measure mental illness stigma, but many fail to have documented or adequate psychometric properties. The purpose of this study was to further evaluate the psychometric properties of one such measure, the Attribution Questionnaire (AQ).

Methods: Based on responses from 774 college students, exploratory factor analyses were conducted followed by an examination of the reliability and validity of the newly formed factor scales.

Results: A six-factor structure emerged and four of these factor scales (Fear/Dangerousness, Help/Interact, Forcing Treatment, and Negative Emotions) had acceptable internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and convergent validity with other stigma measures.

Conclusions: Twenty items from the AQ provide reliable and valid measurement of four important aspects of stigmatizing attitudes/beliefs towards the mentally ill. Accurate measurement of these attitudes/beliefs will be critical to more fully understanding the stigma process and developing effective strategies to address stigma.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Psychometrics
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Facilitation
  • Stereotyping*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Young Adult