Stigma Among Survivors of Sexual Violence in Congo: Scale Development and Psychometrics

Sarah Mc Ivor Murray, Katie L. Robinette, Paul Bolton, Talita Cetinoglu, Laura K. Murray, Jeannie Annan, Judith K. Bass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Stigma related to sexual violence (SV) is associated with many negative physical and social outcomes. We sought to create a contextually relevant measure of SV-related stigma for women in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and assess itspsychometrics and validity. Using baseline screening data from two randomized controlled trials of services for female SV survivors in Eastern DRC (n = 1,184), we conducted exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses to test the measurement model. Cronbach’s alphas and Kuder–Richardson 20 (KR-20) statistics were used to evaluate internal consistency. Logistic and linear regressions of the stigma measures with related constructs were used to assess construct validity. Two distinct but related scales were developed based on factor analyses: a four-item scale of discrimination-related stigma (i.e., enacted stigma) and an eight-item scale of combined perceived and internalized stigma (i.e., felt stigma). Both scales showed good internal consistency (KR-20 =.68; α =.86). A higher felt stigma score was associated with significant increases in combined depression and anxiety and trauma symptoms, as well as functional impairment (p <.001). Having a child as a result of SV was associated with both significantly higher enacted and felt stigma (p <.001). Neither SV stigma scale was associated with medical care seeking. To address harmful ramifications of stigma among SV survivors, locally relevant quantitative measures are necessary to understand the nature and severity of stigma they experience. Our process of scale creation and evaluation can serve as an example for developing locally relevant SV-related stigma measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-514
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • psychometrics
  • scale development
  • sexual violence
  • stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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