AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 748–758 | Cite as

Development and Psychometric Assessment of a Multidimensional Measure of Internalized HIV Stigma in a Sample of HIV-positive Adults

  • Jennifer N. Sayles
  • Ron D. Hays
  • Catherine A. Sarkisian
  • Anish P. Mahajan
  • Karen L. Spritzer
  • William E. Cunningham
Original Paper


There is a need for a psychometrically sound measure of the stigma experienced by diverse persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA). The goal of this study was to develop and evaluate a multidimentional measure of internalized HIV stigma that captures stigma related to treatment and other aspects of the disease among sociodemographically diverse PLHA. We developed a 28-item measure of internalized HIV stigma composed of four scales based on previous qualitative work. Internal consistency reliability estimates in a sample of 202 PLHA was 0.93 for the overall measure, and exceeded 0.85 for three of the four stigma scales. Items discriminated well across scales, and correlations of the scales with shame, social support, and mental health supported construct validity. This measure should prove useful to investigators examining in the role of stigma in HIV treatment and health outcomes, and evaluating interventions designed to mitigate the impacts of stigma on PLHA.


HIV-related stigma Measurement African American Women Healthcare 



This research was supported by grants from the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmfAR) and the California HIV Research Program (CHRP) Network For AIDS Research in Los Angeles (NARLA). The contributions of Elaine Williams, PhD, Tracy Horn, and Natalie St. Cyr are gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer N. Sayles
    • 1
  • Ron D. Hays
    • 1
    • 2
  • Catherine A. Sarkisian
    • 3
  • Anish P. Mahajan
    • 4
  • Karen L. Spritzer
    • 1
  • William E. Cunningham
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services ResearchUCLALos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.RAND CorporationSanta MonicaUSA
  3. 3.Division of GeriatricsUCLALos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.UCLA/Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars ProgramLos AngelesUSA
  5. 5.Department of Health ServicesUCLA School of Public HealthLos AngelesUSA

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