Preliminary investigation of the STBBI Stigma Scale: Description and pilot results

Anne C. Wagner, Rachel MacLean


OBJECTIVES: Sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBIs) are associated with stigmatizing attitudes and beliefs, which can affect the quality of and access to health care, as well as mental health and quality of life. The current study describes the adaptation from an HIV-related stigma scale and pilot testing of a new STBBI Stigma Scale, assessing the stigmatizing attitudes and beliefs of health and social service providers in Canada.

METHODS: 144 health and social service providers from across Canada completed the newly adapted scale assessing stigma associated with HIV, hepatitis C, other viral STBBIs and bacterial STBBIs, as well as demographic information, a scale of social desirability and measures of convergent and divergent validity. Participants were recruited through listservs and completed the scale online.

RESULTS: The new scale, consisting of 21 items for each category, demonstrated excellent internal consistency, reliability, and convergent and divergent validity. The factor structure of the scale supports a tripartite model of stigma consisting of stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination. Stereotyping had the highest relative scores on the subscales, and attitudes regarding other viral STBBIs differed significantly from the other STBBI categories.

CONCLUSION: The new scale provides a contextually relevant and applicable psychometrically valid tool to assess STBBI-related stigma among health and social service providers in Canada. The tool can be used to assess attitudes and beliefs, as well as guide self-assessment and possible trainings for providers.


Social stigma; social discrimination; reproductive health; self-assessment; surveys and questionnaires

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