Background: People may be stigmatized if they have mental illness, emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD), or physical or intellectual disabilities. Being stigmatized adversely affects one's psychological well-being and quality of life. While occupational therapists frequently work with people with EBD and disabilities, all healthcare practitioners may encounter these populations, and stigmatizing attitudes of healthcare professionals towards such clients can negatively affect the therapeutic relationship, evaluation, and treatment. Therefore, understanding attitudes of healthcare students - as future practitioners in all fields of healthcare - towards people in this regard is fundamental to the future implementation of anti-stigma programs. We aimed to develop and test questionnaires for examining stigmatizing attitudes of healthcare students towards people with mental illness or disabilities and children with EBD. Methods: A literature review was conducted to identify surveys related to attitudes towards people with mental illness, EBD, and disabilities. Items that were pertinent to the concept of stigma were selected and modified to fit into the Taiwanese context. A total of 336 students from departments of occupational therapy, physical therapy, nursing, and medicine in 7 universities across Taiwan completed the questionnaires. Item analysis and factor analysis were used to examine the reliability and validity of the questionnaires. Gender differences were also considered. Results: Factor analyses of the three questionnaires yielded factor structures that explained 61.34 to 67.15% of the variance, with Cronbach's α values ranging from 0.71 to 0.89. The Questionnaire on Stigmatizing Attitudes Towards Mental Illness consisted of 16 items with 4 subscales: deviant behavior, social isolation, negative stereotype, and self-stigma. The Questionnaire on Stigmatizing Attitudes Towards Children with EBD consisted of 14 items with 3 subscales: rejective attitude, negative stereotype, and deviant behavior. The Questionnaire on Stigmatizing Attitudes Towards Disabilities consisted of 10 items with 3 subscales: positive stereotype, negative stereotype, and pessimistic expectation. In addition, men had slightly higher stigmatizing attitudes than women. Conclusions: The results showed satisfactory factor structures and internal consistency, and thus support the use of these questionnaires to understand attitudes of healthcare students towards these populations. In addition, particular attention should be paid to gender differences in stigmatizing attitudes of healthcare students.
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