Responses to Mental Health Stigma Questions: The Importance of Social Desirability and Data Collection Method

By Henderson, Claire; Evans-Lacko, Sara et al. | Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, March 2012 | Go to article overview

Responses to Mental Health Stigma Questions: The Importance of Social Desirability and Data Collection Method


Henderson, Claire, Evans-Lacko, Sara, Flach, Clare, Thornicroft, Graham, Canadian Journal of Psychiatry


Objective: To evaluate the impact on the general public of England's Time to Change program to reduce mental health-related stigma and discrimination using newly developed measures of knowledge and intended behaviour regarding people with mental health problems, and an established attitudes scale, and to investigate whether social desirability affects responses to the new measures and test whether this varies according to data collection method.

Method: The Mental Health Knowledge Schedule (MAKS) and Reported and Intended Behaviour Scale (RIBS) were administered together with the 13-item version of the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale to 2 samples (each n = 196) drawn from the Time to Change mass media campaign target group; one group was interviewed face to face, while the other completed the measures as an online survey.

Results: After controlling for other covariates, interaction terms between collection method and social desirability were positive for each instrument. The social desirability score was associated with the RIBS score in the face-to-face group only (β = 0.35, 95% Cl 0.14 to 0.57), but not with the MAKS score in either group; however, MAKS scores were more likely to be positive when data were collected face to face (β = 1.53, 95% Cl 0.74 to 2.32).

Conclusions: Behavioural intentions toward people with mental health problems may be better assessed using online self-complete methods than in-person interviews. The effect of face-to-face interviewing on knowledge requires further investigation.

Objectif : Évaluer l'effet sur le grand public du programme Time to Change d'Angleterre visant à réduire la stigmatisation et la discrimination liées à la santé mentale à l'aide de mesures nouvellement élaborées des connaissances et des comportements intentionnels à l'égard des personnes souffrant de problèmes de santé mentale, et d'une échelle connue des attitudes ; et rechercher si la désirabilité sociale affecte les réponses aux nouvelles mesures et vérifier si cela varie selon la méthode de collecte de données.

Méthode : Le questionnaire de connaissances en santé mentale (MAKS) et l'échelle d'évaluation des comportements intentionnels et rapportés (RIBS) ont été administrés conjointement avec la version en 1 3 items de l'échelle de désirabilité sociale de Marlowe-Crowne à 2 échantillons (n = 1 96 pour chacun) tirés du groupe cible de la campagne dans les médias de Time to Change. Un groupe a été interviewé en personne tandis que l'autre a répondu aux mesures par un sondage en ligne.

Résultats : Après contrôle d'autres covariables, les termes d'interaction entre la méthode de collecte de données et la désirabilité sociale étaient positifs pour chaque instrument. Le score de désirabilité sociale était associé au score de RIBS seulement dans le groupe vu en personne (ß = 0,35; IC à 95 % 0,14 à 0,57), mais pas au score de MAKS dans les 2 groupes; cependant, les scores de MAKS étaient plus susceptibles d'être positifs lorsque les données étaient recueillies en personne (ß = 1,53; IC à 95 % 0,74 à 2,32).

Key Words: social desirability, public health campaigns, mental illness stigma

Conclusions : Les intentions comportementales à l'endroit des personnes souffrant de problèmes de santé mentale peuvent être mieux évaluées à l'aide de méthodes d'autodéclaration en ligne que par des entrevues en personne. L'effet de l'entrevue en personne sur les connaissances demande plus de recherche.

Abbreviations

CAMl Community Attitudes to Mental Illness Scale

MAKS Mental Health Knowledge Schedule

RIBS Reported and Integrated Behaviour Scale

In January 2009, the largest ever program in England to reduce stigma and discrimination against people with mental health problems was launched, called Time to Change.1 It is funded for 4 years with £20.5 million from the Big Lottery Fund and Comic Relief. …

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