The Stigma of Suicide Scale: Psychometric properties and correlates of the stigma of suicide
Batterham, P.J., Calear, A.L., & Christensen H.
Background: There are presently no validated scales to adequately measure the stigma of suicide in the community. The Stigma of Suicide Scale (SOSS) is a new scale containing 58 descriptors of a "typical" person who completes suicide. Aims: To validate the SOSS as a tool for assessing stigma toward suicide, to examine the scale's factor structure, and to assess correlates of stigmatizing attitudes. Method: In March 2010, 676 staff and students at the Australian National University completed the scale in an online survey. The construct validity of the SOSS was assessed by comparing its factors with factors extracted from the Suicide Opinion Questionnaire (SOQ). Results: Three factors were identified: stigma, isolation/depression, and glorification/normalization. Each factor had high internal consistency and strong concurrent validity with the Suicide Opinion Questionnaire. More than 25% of respondents agreed that people who suicided were "weak," "reckless," or "selfish." Respondents who were female, who had a psychology degree, or who spoke only English at home were less stigmatizing. A 16-item version of the scale also demonstrated robust psychometric properties. Conclusions: The SOSS is the first attitudes scale designed to directly measure the stigma of suicide in the community. Results suggest that psychoeducation may successfully reduce stigma.