Measuring the silence: development and initial psychometric testing of the Stillbirth-stigma scale

Dr Danielle Pollock, Adrian Esterman, Elissa Pearson, Megan Cooper, Tahereh Ziaian, Jane Warland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The World Health Organization (WHO), and the Lancet’s 2011 and 2016 Stillbirth Series, all released a call to action to reduce stillbirth stigma by 2020. However, there is meagre research regarding the concept of stigma as it relates to those who have experienced a stillbirth. Furthermore, there is currently no tool to measure and define the extent and types of stigma felt by bereaved parents; thus, there is no way to determine if stillbirth stigma is being reduced. Therefore, this study sought to create a stillbirth-stigma scale to measure the extent and type of stigma experienced by bereaved parents to gain a better understanding of its constructs. It is anticipated that this scale can be used as a tool to measure any changes in stillbirth stigma to assess if it is being reduced.
Methods: Items for the initial administration of the stillbirth-stigma scale were developed by adapting existing validated stigma scales, gathering information from existing literature, and consulting end-users. Eighty-three potential scale items were piloted on 100 Australian bereaved parents (94 mothers; six fathers) through an online survey.
Ethics: This study was approved on 5 December 2016 by the University of South Australia Human Research Ethics Committee, protocol number 0000036017.
Results: An exploratory factor analysis identified four factors (perceived devaluation stigma, discrimination, disclosure and selfstigma), with the final structure having good factor structure, internal consistency (a=.77), and reliability (r=.90).
Conclusion: The stillbirth-stigma scale has the potential to measure the extent and type of stigma experienced by bereaved parents. Future assessment needs to be conducted to further validate the scale.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-83
Number of pages7
JournalEvidence Based Midwifery
Volume17
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Scale-development
  • stigma
  • stillbirth
  • perinatal health
  • methodology
  • measurement
  • psychology
  • health
  • midwifery
  • obstetrics
  • evidence-based midwifery

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