Evaluating the psychometric properties of the attitudes towards depression and its treatments scale in an Australian sample
Fadia Isaac1, Kenneth Mark Greenwood2, Mirella Di Benedetto3
1Cairnmillar Institute School of Psychology Counselling and Psychotherapy, Camberwell, Victoria, Australia; 2School of Psychology and Social Science Faculty of Computing, Health and Science, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Western Australia, Australia; 3School of Health Sciences, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia
Background: Individuals’ attitudes towards depression and its treatments may influence their likelihood of seeking professional help and adherence to treatment when depressed. Objective measures, such as the Attitudes Towards Depression and its Treatments scale (ATDT), have been developed to assess such attitudes. The aims of this research were to test the reliability and validity of ATDT on an Australian sample who were not depressed during the study or who had previously been depressed, to explore the attitudes of the Australian public towards depression, and to compare these attitudes to those of a Canadian sample of people with depression.
Methods: A sample of 63 males and 140 females (mean age = 32.2 years, SD = 12.9 years) from Melbourne, Australia took part in this study. Fourteen of the males and 52 of the female participants (mean age = 35.4 years, SD = 13.2 years) stated that they had been previously diagnosed with depression.
Results: The attitudes of the Australian sample and the subset of that sample who had previously experienced depression differed from those of the Canadian outpatient sample: they were less ashamed of depression, more likely to take antidepressants and consider psychotherapy, and more likely to seek help from professionals or significant others in their lives. However, those in the Australian sample were more likely to report that antidepressants made them lose control, and they were less willing to consider electric shock as a treatment option for their depression. The internal reliability as measured by Cronbach’s alpha was lower in the current study (0.63 and 0.57 for both the general public and the depressed Australian sample) than in the Canadian study.17 Confirmatory factor analysis failed to replicate the factor structure reported previously.
Limitations: The Australian sample of this study may be underrepresentative due to the sampling methods used, and the high proportion of females should not be overlooked.
Conclusion: Researchers should be vigilant when utilizing measures constructed in different countries. In comparison to the Canadians, the selected Australian sample had more positive attitudes towards depression and its available treatments. The ATDT scale was not a reliable and valid measure in this sample.
Keywords: attitudes, depression, objective measures, psychometric properties
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