Although there is substantial concern about negative attitudes to mental illness, little is known about the stigma associated with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) or its measurement. The aim of this study was to develop a multi-item measure of Generalised Anxiety Disorder stigma (the GASS).
Stigma items were developed from a thematic analysis of web-based text about the stigma associated with GAD. Six hundred and seventeen members of the public completed a survey comprising the resulting 20 stigma items and measures designed to evaluate construct validity. Follow-up data were collected for a subset of the participants (n = 212).
The factor structure comprised two components: Personal Stigma (views about Generalised Anxiety Disorder); and Perceived Stigma (views about the beliefs of most others in the community). There was evidence of good construct validity and reliability for each of the Generalised Anxiety Stigma Scale (GASS) subscales.
The GASS is a promising brief measure of the stigma associated with Generalised Anxiety Disorder.