Attitudes about mental illness and its treatment: validation of a generic scale for public health surveillance of mental illness associated stigma

Community Ment Health J. 2010 Apr;46(2):164-76. doi: 10.1007/s10597-009-9191-x. Epub 2009 Mar 28.


The purpose of this study was to test a brief instrument to monitor the U.S. public's attitudes about mental illness. A SAMHSA and CDC-led panel reached consensus through an iterative process to identify generic, multidimensional measures to test using a representative sample of 5,251 adults. Exploratory factor analysis revealed two subscales (Negative Stereotypes [alpha = 0.66]; Recovery and Outcomes [alpha = 0.69]). Confirmatory factor analysis supported the convergent validity of the two subscales. Subscale scores differed by sex, race/ethnicity, and experience with mental illness. Inclusion of these brief subscales on existing population-based surveys can help states and others track attitudes about mental illness.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Mental Disorders / therapy
  • Mental Health Services
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Prejudice*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Young Adult