Measuring stigma across neurological conditions: The development of the stigma scale for chronic illness (SSCI)

Deepa Rao*, Seung W. Choi, David Victorson, Rita Bode, Amy Peterman, Allen Heinemann, David Cella

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

183 Scopus citations


Purpose: Most measures of stigma are illness specific and do not allow for comparisons across conditions. As part of a study of health-related quality of life for people with neurological disorders, our team developed an instrument to assess the stigma for people with chronic illnesses. Methods: We based item content on literature review, responses from focus groups, and cognitive interviews. We then administered the items to people with neurological disorders for psychometric testing. Results: Five hundred eleven participants completed items of the stigma scale. Exploratory factor analysis produced two factors that were highly correlated (r = 0.81). Confirmatory factor analysis produced high standardized loadings on an overall stigma factor (0.68-0.94), with poorer loadings on the two sub-domains (-0.12 to 0.53). These results demonstrated a sufficiently unidimensional scale that corresponded with the bifactor model. Item response theory modeling suggested good model fit, and differential item functioning analyses indicated that the 24-item scale showed potential for measurement equivalence across conditions. Conclusions: Our efforts produced a stigma scale that had promising psychometric properties. Further study can provide additional information about the SSCI and its benefit in measuring the impact of stigma across conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)585-595
Number of pages11
JournalQuality of Life Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2009


  • Chronic illness
  • Enacted stigma
  • Measurement
  • Neurological disorders
  • Self stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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