BACKGROUND: The Discrimination and Stigma Scale (DISC) is a patient-reported outcome measure which assesses experiences of discrimination among persons with a mental illness globally.
METHODS: This study evaluated whether the psychometric properties of a short-form version, DISC-Ultra Short (DISCUS) (11-item), could be replicated in a sample of people with a wide range of mental disorders from 21 sites in 15 countries/territories, across six global regions. The frequency of experienced discrimination was reported. Scaling assumptions (confirmatory factor analysis, inter-item and item-total correlations), reliability (internal consistency) and validity (convergent validity, known groups method) were investigated in each region, and by diagnosis group.
RESULTS: 1195 people participated. The most frequently reported experiences of discrimination were being shunned or avoided at work (48.7%) and discrimination in making or keeping friends (47.2%). Confirmatory factor analysis supported a unidimensional model across all six regions and five diagnosis groups. Convergent validity was confirmed in the total sample and within all regions [ Internalised Stigma of Mental Illness (ISMI-10): 0.28-0.67, stopping self: 0.54-0.72, stigma consciousness: -0.32-0.57], as was internal consistency reliability (α = 0.74-0.84). Known groups validity was established in the global sample with levels of experienced discrimination significantly higher for those experiencing higher depression [Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)-2: p < 0.001], lower mental wellbeing [Warwick-Edinburgh Well-being Scale (WEMWBS): p < 0.001], higher suicidal ideation [Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS)-4: p < 0.001] and higher risk of suicidal behaviour [Suicidal Ideation Attributes Scale (SIDAS): p < 0.001].
CONCLUSIONS: The DISCUS is a reliable and valid unidimensional measure of experienced discrimination for use in global settings with similar properties to the longer DISC. It offers a brief assessment of experienced discrimination for use in clinical and research settings.
- mental health