Ideas for evaluating stigma on multiple levels

Stigma manifests on multiple levels. This diagram helps show what measurement might look like across the different levels of stigma:

Addressing Abortion Stigma
View Diagram

Stigma Scales

What are scales?

Scales are essentially short surveys that have been tested and verified to make sure they are measuring stigma with precision. People have a lot of ideas about “what stigma is." Your scale should take into account these many perspectives but have the fewest questions possible. In the end, the survey reveals one score, which is the amount of stigma experienced by the respondent. Scales are useful when you want to compare stigma between groups (for example: young parents vs. older parents) or before and after an intervention.

How are scales developed?

Scales are developed by highly trained researchers and social scientists using the following process:

  • Bring together experts to review an initial list of questions;
  • Refine those questions based on expert feedback;
  • Isolate a few people in the group being measured and ask them to take the longer form of the survey and give you feedback;
  • Refine based on that feedback;
  • Get a larger number of people in the group being measured to take it;
  • Do a quantitative analysis to shorten the survey down to the absolutely key questions;
  • And finally, distribute the survey to a large number of people in the group being measured.

Validated Scales

These scales were developed and validated by highly trained researchers and social scientists in the field of reproductive stigma. They have been peer reviewed, published in academic journals, and are available for you to use:

  • The Community-Level Abortion Stigma Scale (CLASS Scale) is a theory‐based, multidimensional, validated scale to measure abortion stigma among members of the general adult population. It was designed and tested by Annik Sorhaindo and colleagues in Mexico City.
  • The Parenting, Adoption, and Abortion Norms and Stigma Scales are three distinct, multidimensional, and psychometrically valid measures of norms and stigma around potential pregnancy decisions in the context of unintended pregnancy among young women. It was designed by Whitney S. Rice and colleagues in Alabama.
  • The Individual Level Abortion Stigma Scale (ILAS Scale) is a theory-based, multidimensional, validated scale to measure stigma among women who have had abortions. It was designed by Kate Cockrill and colleagues in the United States.
  • The Abortion Provider stigma scale is a theory-based, multi-dimensional scale to measure stigma among abortion providers. It was designed by Lisa Martin, Lisa Harris and colleagues in the United States.
  • The Stigmatizing Attitudes, Beliefs and Actions Scale is a quantitative instrument that was designed by Kristen Shellenberg and colleagues to measure stigmatizing attitudes and beliefs about abortion in Ghana and Zambia.
  • The Young Parents Stigma Scale is a quantitative instrument that was developed by The Sea Change Program and #NoTeenShame to measure the stigma experienced by parents under age 25.
  • The Disapproval of Anti-Abortion Tactics scale is a multidimensional validated scale to measure the American public’s attitudes towards clinic harassment. It was designed by the Sea Change Program--contact info@seachangeprogram.org for a full copy of the scale.
What are scales?

Scales are essentially short surveys that have been tested and verified to make sure they are measuring stigma with precision. People have a lot of ideas about “what stigma is." Your scale should take into account these many perspectives but have the fewest questions possible. In the end, the survey reveals one score, which is the amount of stigma experienced by the respondent. Scales are useful when you want to compare stigma between groups (for example: young parents vs. older parents) or before and after an intervention.

Learn More
How are scales developed?

Scales are developed by highly trained researchers and social scientists using the following process:

  • Bring together experts to review an initial list of questions;
  • Refine those questions based on expert feedback;
  • Isolate a few people in the group being measured and ask them to take the longer form of the survey and give you feedback;
  • Refine based on that feedback;
  • Get a larger number of people in the group being measured to take it;
  • Do a quantitative analysis to shorten the survey down to the absolutely key questions;
  • And finally, distribute the survey to a large number of people in the group being measured.
Learn More
Validated Scales

These scales were developed and validated by highly trained researchers and social scientists in the field of reproductive stigma. They have been peer reviewed, published in academic journals, and are available for you to use:

  • The Community-Level Abortion Stigma Scale (CLASS Scale) is a theory‐based, multidimensional, validated scale to measure abortion stigma among members of the general adult population. It was designed and tested by Annik Sorhaindo and colleagues in Mexico City.
  • The Parenting, Adoption, and Abortion Norms and Stigma Scales are three distinct, multidimensional, and psychometrically valid measures of norms and stigma around potential pregnancy decisions in the context of unintended pregnancy among young women. It was designed by Whitney S. Rice and colleagues in Alabama.
  • The Individual Level Abortion Stigma Scale (ILAS Scale) is a theory-based, multidimensional, validated scale to measure stigma among women who have had abortions. It was designed by Kate Cockrill and colleagues in the United States.
  • The Abortion Provider stigma scale is a theory-based, multi-dimensional scale to measure stigma among abortion providers. It was designed by Lisa Martin, Lisa Harris and colleagues in the United States.
  •  The Stigmatizing Attitudes, Beliefs and Actions Scale is a quantitative instrument that was designed by Kristen Shellenberg and colleagues to measure stigmatizing attitudes and beliefs about abortion in Ghana and Zambia.
  •  Young parents scale- Materials being developed (paper acceptance forthcoming)
  •  Clinic harassment scale- Materials being developed (paper submission forthcoming
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