Standardized measures for substance use stigma

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2011 Jul 1;116(1-3):137-41. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2010.12.005. Epub 2011 Jan 22.


Despite indications that the stigma associated with substance use is high and may play a role in discouraging treatment participation, there is limited research in this area and only a few psychometrically sound measures of substance use stigma exist. The purpose of this study was to formulate and evaluate the psychometric properties of three substance use stigma measures. College students (N=565) completed three measures of substance use stigma that were modified from three established measures of mental illness stigma. Two of the three modified measures (Social Distance Scale for Substance Users and Affect Scale for Substance Users) emerged as having acceptable psychometric properties, whereas one modified measure (Dangerousness Scale for Substance Users) had inadequate psychometric properties. In regard to sex differences, women had significantly higher substance use stigma on the two psychometrically sound measures (p<.01). Perhaps, with standardized measures, there can be greater progress towards better understanding the mechanisms leading to high levels of substance use stigma and ultimately address failures to seek out treatment due to stigma.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Drug Users
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Psychometrics
  • Reference Standards
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Stigma*
  • Stereotyping*
  • Students
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities
  • Young Adult