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Mental Illness Related Internalized Stigma: Psychometric Properties of the Brief ISMI Scale in Greece

Alexia Paraskevoulakou, Kassiani Vrettou, Katerina Pikouli, Evgenia Triantafillou, Anastasia Lykou, Marina Economou.


Aims: Since evaluation regarding the impact of mental illness related internalized stigma is scarce, there is a great need for psychometric instruments which could contribute to understanding its adverse effects among Greek patients with severe mental illness. The Brief Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness (ISMI) scale is one of the most widely used measures designed to assess the subjective experience of stigma related to mental illness. The present study aimed to investigate the psychometric properties of the Greek version of the Brief ISMI scale. In addition to presenting psychometric findings, we explored the relationship of the Greek version of the Brief ISMI subscales with indicators of self-esteem and quality of life. Methods: 272 outpatients (108 males, 164 females) meeting the DSM-IV TR criteria for severe mental disorder (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression) completed the Brief ISMI, the RSES and the WHOQOL-BREF scales. Patients reported age and educational level. A retest was conducted with 124 patients. Results: The Chronbach’s alpha coefficient was 0 0.83. The test-retest reliability coefficients varied from 0.81 to 0.91, indicating substantial agreement. The ICC was for the total score 0.83 and for the two factors, 0.69 and 0.77 respectively. Factor analysis provided strong evidence for a two factor model. Factors 1 and 2 were named respectively “how others view me” and “how I view myself”. They were negatively correlated with both RSES and WHOQOL-BREF scales, as well as with educational level. Factor 2 was significantly associated with the type of diagnosis. Conclusions: The Greek version of the Brief ISMI scale can be used as a reliable and valid tool for assessing mental illness related internalized stigma among Greek patients with severe mental illness.

Key words: Internalized stigma; Mental illness; Psychometric properties; Quality of life; Self-esteem.

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