Original Paper

Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 164-176

First online:

Attitudes About Mental Illness and its Treatment: Validation of a Generic Scale for Public Health Surveillance of Mental Illness Associated Stigma

  • Rosemarie KobauAffiliated withDivision of Adult and Community Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Email author 
  • , Colleen DiIorioAffiliated withDepartment of Behavioral Sciences, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health
  • , Daniel ChapmanAffiliated withDivision of Adult and Community Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • , Paolo DelvecchioAffiliated withSubstance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services
  • , SAMHSA/CDC Mental Illness Stigma Panel Members

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The purpose of this study was to test a brief instrument to monitor the U.S. public’s attitudes about mental illness. A SAMHSA and CDC-led panel reached consensus through an iterative process to identify generic, multidimensional measures to test using a representative sample of 5,251 adults. Exploratory factor analysis revealed two subscales (Negative Stereotypes [α = 0.66]; Recovery and Outcomes [α = 0.69]). Confirmatory factor analysis supported the convergent validity of the two subscales. Subscale scores differed by sex, race/ethnicity, and experience with mental illness. Inclusion of these brief subscales on existing population-based surveys can help states and others track attitudes about mental illness.


Mental illness Stigma Attitudes Factor analysis