Background: Healthcare professionals can be a source of stigma and discrimination for people with mental illness, and anti-stigma programs are needed for this target group. However, there is no validated German language scale to assess attitudes of healthcare professionals towards people with mental illness. This study had the aim to validate the German language version of the Opening Minds Scale for Health Care Providers (OMS-HC), a self-report measure of stigmatizing attitudes.
Methods: Staff (n = 392) on general psychiatric inpatient wards (excluding child, forensic and geriatric psychiatry) at five psychiatric hospitals in Switzerland (n = 3) and Germany (n = 2) participated in the study. The internal consistency of the OMS-HC was examined as well as its factor structure using exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses. To assess the scale’s concurrent validity, we used the Social Distance Scale.
Results: Internal consistency for the OMS-HC total score was good (α = 0.73), it was acceptable for the subscales Attitudes (α = 0.62) and Social Distance (α = 0.69), but poor for the Disclosure subscale (α = 0.55). The original three-factor structure fit our data well. The OMS-HC total score and the Social Distance subscale score were significantly correlated with the Social Distance Scale, supporting concurrent validity.
Conclusion: The German version of the OMS-HC demonstrated satisfactory psychometric properties and can be recommended for future research and intervention evaluation.