The Personal Suicide Stigma Questionnaire (PSSQ): Relation to self-esteem, well-being, and help-seeking
Maclean, B.R., Forrester, T., Hawgood, J., O'Gorman, J., & Rimkeviciene, J.
Two studies are reported that extend the evidence base for use of the Personal Stigma of Suicide Questionnaire (PSSQ). In the first study (N = 117), the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, the WHO-5 measure of well-being, as well as measures of suicidality were examined in relation to the PSSQ. A self-selected sub-sample (N = 30) completed the PSSQ after an interval of two months. In line with the stigma internalization model, when demographic variables and suicidality were accounted for, the PSSQ self-blame subscale was the most significant predictor of self-esteem. As for well-being, the rejection subscale was involved as well as self-blame. The retest stability of the PSSQ for the sub-sample was 0.85 and coefficient alpha for the total sample was 0.95, indicating both good stability and internal consistency for the scale. In the second study (N = 140), PSSQ was studied in relation to intention to seek help from four sources in the case of suicidal ideation. The strongest relationship with PSSQ was with intention not to seek help from anyone (r = 0.35). When other variables were included in the prediction of help-seeking from a general medical practitioner, family or friends, or from nobody, the only significant PSSQ correlate was minimization. For help-seeking from a psychologist or psychiatrist, the most significant predictor was judged helpfulness of prior contact with them. The results from these studies strengthen previous findings of the construct validity of the PSSQ and point to its utility in understanding barriers to help-seeking among those experiencing suicidality.