Background The objective of the study was to investigate the factorial validity and internal consistency of the Scale of Attitude towards People Living with HIV and AIDS (SAPLWHA).
Methods Between 15 March and 2 April 2010, a telephone survey was conducted among a representative sample of 1500 English and French speaking Quebecers between the ages of 15–64 years. The factorial validity of the scale was investigated in two steps: first, with exploratory factor analyses (EFA) (Principal Axis Factoring with oblique rotation) and second, with confirmatory factor analyses (CFA) (Weighted Least Squares estimation with polychoric correlations). The original sample was randomly separated into two subsamples and independently used for the EFA and CFA. Different indicators were used to assess the factorial structure.
Results The best EFA model had a simple structure of seven moderately correlated factors: (F1): Fear of being infected; (F2): Personal contact; (F3): Prejudice, perceptions of risk groups; (F4): Liberalism; (F5): Social Support; (F6): Right to be informed / HIV confidentiality; (F7): Support to the criminalisation of disease transmission. This factor structure explained 44% of the variance which represents 76% of the total variance when the data are reduced to 7 dimensions. The reliability analysis showed a high internal consistency for the total scale (0.89), adequate values for all factors except F6 (0.70 to 0.79), and a moderate value for F6 (0.59). Although the CFA χ2 test was not significant, fit indexes indicated that the seven factor model fits the data (Root Mean Square Error Of Approximation=0.0396; Comparative Fit Index=0.950; Non-Normed Fit Index=0.942; Goodness-of-Fit Index=0.981).
Conclusions Results suggest that the SAPLWHA is a measure that adequately documents the current attitudes towards PLWHA. Factorial scores derived from this scale will allow external validity assessment as well as provide useful information for future awareness and compassion campaigns designed for the general population.
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