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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Perceived Alcohol Stigma: Factor Structure and Construct Validation

There has been an increasing interest in studying the stigma of alcohol use disorders (AUDs) yet scant research has evaluated the conceptualization and measurement of alcohol stigma. This study examined the measurement properties (i.e., factor structure) and validity of the alcohol-adapted Perceived Devaluation-Discrimination scale (PDD), which assesses the construct of perceived alcohol stigma (PAS).

Our sample included 34,386 respondents from the Wave 2 assessment in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, a population-representative survey of noninstitutionalized U.S. adults. Analytic procedures included confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling.

One-factor (perceived devaluation–discrimination) and 2-factor (perceived devaluation, perceived discrimination) confirmatory factor analytic models fit the data well (Comparative Fit Index = 0.958, Tucker-Lewis Index = 0.942, Root Mean Square Error of Approximation = 0.056; Comparative Fit Index = 0.962, Tucker-Lewis Index = 0.946, Root Mean Square Error of Approximation = 0.054; respectively) when adjusting for item wording effects with a latent method factor. Despite having a better fit to the data, χ2 (1) = 542, p < 0.0001, the 2 factors were highly correlated (r = 0.90), which led us to favor a 1-factor model. Structural equation models found that the inverse relationship between PAS and perceived interpersonal social support was strongest for persons with a stigmatized labeling status. The same was not true in analyses predicting social network involvement.

A 1-factor solution of PAS had superior parsimony. The alcohol-adapted PDD appears to be a psychometrically sound measure and exhibits relationships that are consistent with modified labeling theory.

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