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Development and Validation of the Scale of Attitudes about Seeking Formal Help in the Context of Intimate Partner Violence

NCJ Number
Journal of Interpersonal Violence Volume: 38 Issue: 7-8 Dated: 2023 Pages: 5937–5962
Date Published
26 pages

This study discusses the development and validation of a scale of attitudes about seeking formal help to assess how stigma affects the decision-making process of intimate partner violence (IPV) survivors.


This study developed and validated a scale to assess the manifestation of intimate partner violence (IPV) stigma on survivors’ attitudes toward accessing services, using a racially and ethnically diverse sample of women (N = 409). Stigma plays a critical role in the decision-making process of intimate partner violence (IPV) survivors, particularly whether they disclose, initiate, and continue with care for the consequences of the violence. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted using a calibration subset (n = 206) to identify the factor structure of the newly developed scale. A confirmatory factor analysis was then performed using a validation subset (n = 203) to validate the hypothesized model. To assess language and Latina ethnic differences in the scale functioning, multiple indicators and multiple causes (MIMIC) modeling was applied. To test for construct validity, the scale’s correlation with two conceptually relevant variables was estimated. The final exploratory factor analysis (EFA) model retained eight items across two factors, accounting for 58.63% of the variance. Factor 1 captures attitudes related to anticipated stigma, and factor 2 captures attitudes related to internalized stigma. Results from the CFA validated the hypothesized second-order, two-factor model of the scale of Attitudes About Seeking Formal Help. Overall, results from the MIMIC model indicated measurement invariance across English and Spanish-speaking and Latina and non-Latina survivors. Construct validity was supported. This scale provides a tool to help capture and understand IPV stigma in relation to accessing professional services. Specifically, practitioners will be able to identify survivors who endorse high negative attitudes about seeking formal help, potentially being at higher risk of service discontinuation. Such information could, in turn, help guide a targeted service plan. Practitioners may also use this tool with ongoing clients to inform their practices and determine whether specific IPV stigma should be the focus of intervention. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: January 1, 2023