Development and Psychometric Evaluation of the IPV Internalized Stigma Scale
Self-stigma is the internalization of widespread and negative attitudes around a devalued attribute. Being a victim of intimate partner violence (IPV) is a stigmatized identity, with IPV self-stigma is a potential barrier to help seeking. The lack of an IPV self-stigma scale limits current measurement of this latent trait; this study sought to fill this gap. We developed the IPV Internalized Self-stigma Scale (IPVIS) by revising existing self-stigma and devaluation/discrimination measures and adding new items to fill perceived gaps. Using an online survey, a diverse sample (N = 455, M = 39.51, SD = 12.03) with various relationship types (e.g., heterosexual, same-sex), IPV circumstances (e.g., male or female perpetrators/victims) and different gender and sexual identities was recruited. Participants first completed the item pool (44-items), followed by measures of IPV, anxiety, depression, social health, and self-efficacy with data analyzed using a multi-model approach (e.g., factor analysis, item response theory [IRT]). Factor analyses revealed one dominant factor; IRT analyses further refined the unidimensional item set. The final 11 items had high internal consistency, ω = .90, 95% CI [0.89, 0.91], and were highly informative with moderate to high discrimination levels. The IPVIS demonstrated measurement invariance by demographics, showing no differential item functioning by age groups, sex, residence (urban/suburban/rural), ethnicity (European/Caucasian vs. others), or relationship status (partnered/unpartnered). Initial validity examination revealed significant correlations between the IPVIS and related measures (e.g., depression, anxiety, social health). The IPVIS is suitable for research and has widespread clinical applicability. To the best of our knowledge, the IPVIS is the first scale developed that assesses IPV self-stigma inclusive of a diverse range of clients/participants, relationship types, and IPV circumstances.