Generalised Anxiety Stigma Scale (GASS)

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The Generalised Anxiety Stigma Scale is designed to measure stigma associated with anxiety disorders. It has two subscales which measure two different types of stigma: personal and perceived. The Personal Stigma Subscale measures stigma in the respondents own attitudes towards anxiety disorders by asking them to indicate how strongly they personally agree with 10 statements about anxiety disorders. The Perceived Stigma Subscale measures the respondent’s perception about the attitudes of others towards anxiety disorders by asking them to indicate what they think most other people believe about the same 10 statements. Responses to each item are measured on a five-point scale (ranging from zero ‘strongly disagree’ to four ‘strongly agree’). Higher scores indicate higher levels of generalised anxiety stigma.

Personal Stigma items

  • An anxiety disorder is not a real medical illness.
  • An anxiety disorder is a sign of personal weakness.
  • People with an anxiety disorder could snap out of it if they wanted to.
  • People with an anxiety disorder should be ashamed of themselves.
  • People with an anxiety disorder do not make suitable employees.
  • People with an anxiety disorder are unstable.
  • People with an anxiety disorder are to blame for their problem.
  • People with an anxiety disorder are just lazy.
  • People with an anxiety disorder are a danger to others.
  • People with an anxiety disorder are self-centred.

Perceived Stigma items

  • Most people think that an anxiety disorder is not a real medical illness.
  • Most people think that an anxiety disorder is a sign of personal weakness.
  • Most people think that people with an anxiety disorder could snap out of it if they wanted to.
  • Most people think that people with an anxiety disorder should be ashamed of themselves.
  • Most people think that people with an anxiety disorder do not make suitable employees.
  • Most people think that people with an anxiety disorder are unstable.
  • Most people think that people with an anxiety disorder are to blame for their problem.
  • Most people think that people with an anxiety disorder are just lazy.
  • Most people think that people with an anxiety disorder are a danger to others.
  • Most people think that people with an anxiety disorder are self-centred.

Norms and psychometric properties

The psychometric properties below are based on a community sample of 617Australian adults aged 18-65 randomly selected from one urban setting and one rural setting in NSW and 212 in the follow up sample.

Internal consistency

GASS- Personal Stigma Subscale α = 0.86

GASS- Perceived Stigma Subscale α = 0.91

Test-retest reliability

GASS- Personal Stigma Subscale r = 0.58

GASS- Perceived Stigma Subscale r = 0.55

Convergent validity

GASS Personal Stigma Subscale

  • Correlation with Depression Stigma Scale- Personal Stigma Subscale: r = 0.66, p <.0001
  • Correlation with Anxiety Social Distance Scale: r = 0.47, p <.0001
  • Correlation with Mental Illness Social Distance Scale: r = 0.39, p <.0001

GASS Perceived Stigma Subscale

  • Correlaqtion with Depression Stigma Scale- Perceived Stigma Subscale: r = 0.67, p <.0001
  • Correlation with Devaluation Discrimination Scale: r = 0.42, p <.019

Divergent validity

GASS Personal Stigma Subscale

  • Correlation with GASS Perceived Stigma Scale: r = -0.03, p=0.4
  • Correlation with Devaluation Discrimination Scale: r = 0.07, p = 0.09

GASS Perceived Stigma Subscale

  • Correlation with GASS Perceived Stigma Scale: r = -0.03, p=0.4
  • Correlation with Anxiety Social Distance Scale: r = -0.06, p = 0.13
  • Correlation with Depression Stigma Scale- Personal Stigma Subscale: r = -0.06, p = 0.16
  • Correlation with Mental Illness Social Distance Scale: r = -0.10, p = 0.02

Norms

The following shows the percentage of respondents endorsing either agree or strongly agree.

Personal Stigma Subscale

Item %

An anxiety disorder is not a real medical illness.

13.0

An anxiety disorder is a sign of personal weakness.

6.0

People with an anxiety disorder could snap out of it if they wanted to.

6.0

People with an anxiety disorder should be ashamed of themselves.

1.5

People with an anxiety disorder do not make suitable employees.

7.8

People with an anxiety disorder are unstable.

16.7

People with an anxiety disorder are to blame for their problem.

2.9

People with an anxiety disorder are just lazy.

0.7

People with an anxiety disorder are a danger to others.

3.8

People with an anxiety disorder are self-centred.

6.4

Perceived Stigma Subscale

Item %

Most people think that an anxiety disorder is not a real medical illness.

56.0

Most people think that an anxiety disorder is a sign of personal weakness.

52.7

Most people think that people with an anxiety disorder could snap out of it if they wanted to.

55.3

Most people think that people with an anxiety disorder should be ashamed of themselves.

20.1

Most people think that people with an anxiety disorder do not make suitable employees.

48.4

Most people think that people with an anxiety disorder are unstable.

58.9

Most people think that people with an anxiety disorder are to blame for their problem.

41.6

Most people think that people with an anxiety disorder are just lazy.

24.5

Most people think that people with an anxiety disorder are a danger to others.

28.7

Most people think that people with an anxiety disorder are self-centred.

32.7

Key references

Griffiths, K.M., Batterham, P.J., Barney, L., & Parsons, A. The generalised anxiety stigma scale (GASS): Psychometric properties in a community sample. BMC Psychiatry 2011; 11:184.

Updated:  21 September 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director/Page Contact:  Executive Support Officer