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Opening Minds Stigma Scale for Health Care Providers (OMS-HC): Examination of psychometric properties and responsiveness

Geeta Modgill1*, Scott B Patten23, Stephanie Knaak1, Aliya Kassam4 and Andrew CH Szeto15

Author Affiliations

1 Opening Minds Anti-Stigma Initiative, Mental Health Commission of Canada, 110 Quarry Park Blvd, Suite 320, Calgary, AB T2C 3G3, Canada

2 Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, 3rd Floor TRW, 3280 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 4Z6, Canada

3 Department of Psychiatry, University of Calgary, 3rd Floor TRW, 3280 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 4Z6, Canada

4 Office of Postgraduate Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 4N1, Canada

5 Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada

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BMC Psychiatry 2014, 14:120  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-14-120

Published: 23 April 2014



Diminishing stigmatization for those with mental illnesses by health care providers (HCPs) is becoming a priority for programming and policy, as well as research. In order to be successful, we must accurately measure stigmatizing attitudes and behaviours among HCPs. The Opening Minds Stigma Scale for Health Care Providers (OMS-HC) was developed to measure stigma in HCP populations. In this study we revisit the factor structure and the responsiveness of the OMS-HC in a larger, more representative sample of HCPs that are more likely to be targets for anti-stigma interventions.


Baseline data were collected from HCPs (n = 1,523) during 12 different anti-stigma interventions across Canada. The majority of HCPs were women (77.4%) and were either physicians (MDs) (41.5%), nurses (17.0%), medical students (13.4%), or students in allied health programs (14.0%). Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted using complete pre-test (n = 1,305) survey data and responsiveness to change analyses was examined with pre and post matched data (n = 803). The internal consistency of the OMS-HC scale and subscales was evaluated using the Cronbach’s alpha coefficient. The scale’s sensitivity to change was examined using paired t-tests, effect sizes (Cohen’s d), and standardized response means (SRM).


The EFA favored a 3-factor structure which accounted for 45.3% of the variance using 15 of 20 items. The overall internal consistency for the 15-item scale (α = 0.79) and three subscales (α = 0.67 to 0.68) was acceptable. Subgroup analysis showed the internal consistency was satisfactory across HCP groups including physicians and nurses (α = 0.66 to 0.78). Evidence for the scale’s responsiveness to change occurred across multiple samples, including student-targeted interventions and workshops for practicing HCPs. The Social Distance subscale had the weakest level of responsiveness (SRM ≤ 0.50) whereas the more attitudinal-based items comprising the Attitude (SRM ≤ 0.91) and Disclosure and Help-seeking (SRM ≤ 0.68) subscales had stronger responsiveness.


The OMS-HC has shown to have acceptable internal consistency and has been successful in detecting positive changes in various anti-stigma interventions. Our results support the use of a 15-item scale, with the calculation of three sub scores for Attitude, Disclosure and Help-seeking, and Social Distance.

Stigma; Scales; Measurement instruments; Mental-health-related stigma; Attitudes; Contact; Intervention; Psychometrics