Research Summary

Research Summary: A Psychometric Validation of the Employers’ Stigmatizing Attitudes Toward Cancer Survivors Scale

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A Quick Look

Employment is a basic human right that each and every individual should have access to without discrimination. Despite this, people with disabilities often face much discrimination and stigma that may block them from their employment status and successful outcomes. In particular, much of this stigma may be held by potential and current employers. This article was specifically interested in stigma that employers hold toward workers who have survived cancer. The aim of this article was to validate the Employers’ Stigmatizing Attitudes Toward Cancer Survivors Scale.

Key Findings

  • Cancer survivors are more likely to experience unemployment, underemployment, and early retirement than their non-cancer survivor counterparts.
  • Employment for cancer survivors is positively associated with fewer physical symptoms, shorter length of sick leave, and better continuity of care. Despite this, many environmental barriers (such as stigma) exist and negatively impact these outcomes.
  • The Employers’ Stigmatizing Attitudes Toward Cancer Survivors Scale was administered to 177 human resource professionals in Taiwan to assess their attitudes toward cancer survivors. There was also a demographic questionnaire that was administered for external correlations. The demographic questionnaire asked about employers’ willingness to hire cancer survivors, if they have family members and friends who have cancer survivors, and if their company currently has at least one employee who is a cancer survivor.
  • Exploratory factor analysis yielded a one-factor structure; employer stigma (Cronbach’s alpha .80). The factor was significantly associated with employers’ willingness to hire cancer survivors (higher stigma = less likely to hire).
  • The Employer’s Stigmatizing Attitudes Toward Cancer Survivors Scale is a brief, 6-item questionnaire that may serve as a useful measure of employer stigma that can be used in future demand-side research related to cancer survivorship and employment.

Putting It Into Practice

  • The Employer’s Stigmatizing Attitudes Toward Cancer Survivors Scale can be a useful demand-side employment tool to measure an employer’s stigma toward workers with cancer.
  • Understanding the commonality of this stigma and where it lies lays the foundation for the creation of interventions geared toward combating such stigma.
  • Specifically, much of the stigma discovered in this study seemed to be due in part to employers’ concerns/misconceptions about employees’ with cancer high rates of absenteeism, and also due to lack of understanding of job accommodations. Stigma reduction interventions can target these areas.

Learn More

  • This study’s sample included 177 human resource managers in Taiwan who were employed in the fields of manufacturing, information technology, and health-care industries. Both exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis were used to evaluate the measurement structure of the Employers’ Stigmatizing Attitudes Toward People with Disabilities-Cancer Scale.
  • Article on stigma toward cancer survivors:
    • Kim, M. A., & Yi, J. (2014). Life after cancer: How does public stigma increase psychological distress of childhood cancer survivors? International Journal of Nursing Studies, 51(12), 1605-1614.


Tu, W. M., Pfaller, J., Iwanaga, K., Chan, F., Strauser, D., Wang, M. H., & Ditchman, N. (2018). A psychometric validation of the employers' stigmatizing attitudes toward cancer survivors scale. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 28(3), 541-547.

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