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Depressive symptoms mediate COVID-associated stigma and quality of life: Stigma instrument validation and path analysis.



The aim of this study was to adapt and modify the HIV/AIDS Stigma Instrument-Patient to develop the COVID-19 Stigma Instrument-Patient (CSI-P) and validate its psychometric characteristics, as well as explore how affected individuals in China experienced COVID-related stigma and its associated variables, including depressive symptomology and quality of life (QOL).


From September to October 2020, 151 COVID-19 survivors recruited in Shanghai, China, completed a set of measures of demographic characteristics, depression, stigma, and QOL.


The 15-item CSI-P-2 achieved a Cronbach's α of 0.67 to 0.91. The six-factor structure was obtained by exploratory factor analysis. The mean score for the CSI-P-2 in Chinese COVID survivors was 8.14 ± 9.98. Regression analysis showed that survivors' age, comorbid diseases, education levels, and loneliness level were the factors influencing their COVID-19 stigma, explaining 37.80% of the total variance (F = 19.25, p < 0.001). Also, stigma's effect on QOL was significant in direct and indirect paths mediated by depressive symptomology.


First, this sample might limit the generalization of the findings to other Chinese-speaking regions. Second, future longitudinal or experimental studies are warranted for checking and further refinement of the scale. Finally, future studies are needed on the changing dynamics of stigma in different stages of the pandemic.


The 29-item CSI-P-2 with six domains is an instrument with sound psychometric properties that can be used to measure COVID-19 stigma during the COVID-19 outbreak and, later, for COVID-19 survivors. Future studies should explore how to integrate the significant demographic and psychological characteristics influencing the experience of stigma work on this study into the development of stigma-reducing interventions.

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