Psychometric properties of the Depression Stigma Scale (DSS) in Chinese cancer patients: a cross-sectional study

Lei Zhu*, Juntao Yao, Liyang Wu, Jun Wang, Mengting Qiu, Chunyu Zhang, Hongmei Zhang, Juan Xie, Ailan Liu, Adelita Ranchor, Maya Schroevers

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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    Objectives The Depression Stigma Scale (DSS) is commonly used to assess depression stigma in the general population and in people with depression. The DSS includes two 9-item subscales assumed to measure personal depression stigma (ie, personal perceptions of depression) and perceived depression stigma (ie, perceptions of how others perceive depression). The aim of the present study was to examine its psychometric properties in terms of validity and reliability in Chinese cancer patients.

    Design A cross-sectional study design.

    Participants and settings This study focused on 301 Chinese cancer patients recruited from two hospitals in Xian, China.

    Methods Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) were used to assess the factor structure. Internal consistency was assessed using Cronbachs alpha. To examine concurrent validity, symptoms of depression were used as the criterion.

    Results For each subscale of the DSS (ie, personal and perceived depression stigma), the EFA and CFA confirmed a two-factor structure: weak-not-sick (ie, perceiving that depression is not a real illness, but rather a sign of weakness) and discrimination (ie, perceiving that depressed people are discriminated against). The Cronbachs alphas were adequate, ranging from 0.70 to 0.80. Symptoms of depression were positively but weakly correlated to personal and perceived depression stigma.

    Conclusions The DSS appeared to show satisfactory psychometric properties in our sample of cancer patients. Both personal depression stigma and perceived depression stigma subscales consisted of two underlying aspects.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number028429
    Number of pages7
    JournalBMJ Open
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - Aug-2019



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