New scale developed to measure self-stigma experienced by family members

March 23, 2018

New scale developed to measure self-stigma experienced by family members

A brand new scale has been developed to measure self-stigma experienced by family members of people living with mental illness. Recently published in the the British Journal of Psychiatry, The Self-Stigma in Relatives of people with Mental Illness (SSRMI) scale is the first of its kind, and paves the way for greater focus on the design and delivery of interventions aimed at decreasing self-stigma in family members of people living with mental illness.

CREST.BD has been at the forefront of advancing the science on stigma in bipolar disorder – and in past 5 years, CREST.BD network members Catriona Hippman, Erin Michalak, Greg Murray, and Jehannine Austin have partnered with Genetic Counsellor Emily Morris, and a team of researchers and mental health experts including Jennifer Boyd, Jamie Livingston, Angela Inglis, and Prescilla Carrion in the development of the SSRMI.

“For the first time, we have a way of measuring self-stigma, not just in people who are living with mental illness, but in their family members too. This also gives us a new opportunity to develop, deliver and effectively assess treatments to address self-stigma in family members” – Dr. Jehannine Austin

The 30- and 10-item versions of the scale include items such as “I feel guilty because my family member has a mental illness”, “I minimize the severity of my family member’s
mental illness when describing it to people” and “I can openly discuss mental illness with other members of my family.”

Funding for this project was supported by the University of British Columbia’s Hampton Grant program, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, BC Mental Health and Addictions Services, and the Canada Research Chairs program.

Read the full paper here: Self-Stigma in Relatives of people with Mental Illness scale: development and validation

Learn about the three levels of stigma and CREST.BD’s work on advancing the science on stigma here: crestbd.ca/research/research-areas/stigma