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Helping Adolescents Root Out Stigma Associated with Mental Illness

Melissa Pinto addresses the need for more and better data in the Journal of Nursing Measurement

StigmaPosted 6/11/12

Health experts agree that reducing the stigma associated with adolescent mental illness is an essential step toward increasing the number of teenagers who seek the help they need.

But, say researchers at Case Western Reserve in the Journal of Nursing Measurement, the relative dearth of data regarding stigma in this age group makes tackling the topic particularly tough. Not only is adolescent mental health stigma rarely studied, but even less is known about the accuracy of measures used to assess it.

Melissa Pinto
Melissa Pinto, PhD, RN

Explained Melissa Pinto, KL2 Clinical Research Scholar and instructor of nursing at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing: “We need to find a reliable and valid way to measure the presence of stigma associated with mental illness among adolescents.”

Pinto and her colleagues sought to begin that process by testing an existing measure among more than 200 teenagers in the southern United States. Their article about the assessment, “Psychometric Evaluation of the Revised Attribution Questionnaire (r-AQ) to Measure Mental Illness Stigma in Adolescents,” appears in the year’s first issue of the journal. Based on this first sample, the authors concluded that this questionnaire can be considered reliable and valid for this age group. Still, they urge additional assessments among more diverse groups located throughout the country.

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Source: Case Western Reserve University

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