Perceived Stigmatization and Social Comfort: Validating the Constructs and Their Measurement Among Pediatric Burn Survivors

John W. Lawrence, Laura Rosenberg, Ruth B. Rimmer, Brett D. Thombs, James A. Fauerbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Objective: The current study implemented a four-step process to evaluate the measurement properties of the Perceived Stigmatization Questionnaire (PSQ) and the Social Comfort Questionnaire (SCQ) among long-term pediatric burn survivors. Methods: First, a series of confirmatory factor analyses (CFAs) compared the hypothesized four-factor model-3 perceived stigmatization factors (absence of friendly behavior, confused and staring behavior, and hostile behavior)-and one social comfort factor to three other models. Second, we tested the measurement invariance of the instruments between pediatric and adult burn survivor samples. Third, possible differences in structural parameters across groups were tested. Fourth, we tested whether the three perceived stigmatization factors and the social comfort factor loaded on one second-order factor. Participants included 369 pediatric and 347 adult burn survivors. Results: The four-factor model was superior to the comparison models. The PSQ and SCQ demonstrated measurement invariance. Factor variance, factor covariance, and the latent means of the PSQ did not vary across groups. The adult group had a significantly lower latent mean on the SCQ than the pediatric group. The three factors of the PSQ and the one-factor SCQ loaded on one second-order factor. Conclusion: The results of this study lend support to both the construct validity of perceived stigmatization and social comfort and the potential value of the PSQ and SCQ for studying the social experience of people with visible differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)360-371
Number of pages12
JournalRehabilitation Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • Burn injury
  • Disfigurement
  • Social anxiety
  • Stigmatization
  • Visible differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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