Stigma and Depression Treatment Utilization Among Latinos

Utility of Four Stigma Measures

Latinos with major depression face a number of stigma-related barriers to seeking treatment. For some, depression may be viewed as a personal weakness. Many others may want to socially distance themselves from a depressed person. Understanding stigma is necessary in order to reduce disparities in care for people with depression.

This study examined four stigma measures for internal consistency, convergent validity, construct validity and criterion-related validity. Three of the measures had been studied previously and one was designed specifically for Latinos:

  1. Perceived Discrimination Devaluation (PDD) scale
  2. Stigma Concerns About Mental Health Care (SCMHC) scale
  3. Social Distance (SD) scale
  4. Latino Scale for Antidepressant Stigma (LSAS)

Spanish-speaking study participants from two large primary care practices for underserved populations were interviewed at baseline, 6, 16, 25 and 30 months, with stigma beliefs assessed at the last two time points.

Three of the measures, SCHMC, LSAS and SD received support for their reliability and construct validity. Support for the fourth, PDD, was more mixed.

Among the important clinical concerns that affect Latinos’ use of depression treatment: their desire to have social distance from individuals with depression, and their stigma concerns about depression treatment in general and about antidepressant use.