Development and psychometric testing of a multidimensional instrument of perceived discrimination among African Americans in the Jackson Heart Study

Ethn Dis. 2009 Winter;19(1):56-64.


Objective: Assessing the discrimination-health disparities hypothesis requires psychometrically sound, multidimensional measures of discrimination. Among the available discrimination measures, few are multidimensional and none have adequate psychometric testing in a large, African American sample. We report the development and psychometric testing of the multidimensional Jackson Heart Study Discrimination (JHSDIS) Instrument.

Methods: A multidimensional measure assessing the occurrence, frequency, attribution, and coping responses to perceived everyday and lifetime discrimination; lifetime burden of discrimination; and effect of skin color was developed and tested in the 5302-member cohort of the Jackson Heart Study. Internal consistency was calculated by using Cronbach alpha coefficient. Confirmatory factor analysis established the dimensions, and intercorrelation coefficients assessed the discriminant validity of the instrument.

Setting: Tri-county area of the Jackson, MS metropolitan statistical area.

Results: The JHSDIS was psychometrically sound (overall alpha = .78, .84 and .77, respectively, for the everyday and lifetime subscales). Confirmatory factor analysis yielded 11 factors, which confirmed the a priori dimensions represented.

Conclusions: The JHSDIS combined three scales into a single multidimensional instrument with good psychometric properties in a large sample of African Americans. This analysis lays the foundation for using this instrument in research that will examine the association between perceived discrimination and CVD among African Americans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mississippi
  • Population Surveillance / methods
  • Prejudice*
  • Psychometrics / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Design
  • Skin Pigmentation
  • Social Perception*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult