INTRODUCTION AND AIMS: We validate a brief questionnaire to assess barriers to help-seeking for illicit substance use, and explore the factor structure and correlates of scale scores, among people dependent on methamphetamine. DESIGN AND METHODS: We administered a modified version of 27 items from the Barriers Questionnaire to 145 adults who had used methamphetamine in the past month and who screened positive for methamphetamine dependence on the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview. We used an exploratory factor analysis to identify the scale’s dimensions. We examined correlates of the scale scores, their internal consistency, and their concurrent validity against help-seeking intentions on the General Help Seeking Questionnaire (GHSQ). RESULTS: A three factor model (chi(2) = 308.6 df=168; RMSEA 0.08 [95% CI 0.06-0.09]; comparative fit index = 0.92) identified low perceived need for treatment (9 items), stigma (6 items), and apprehension about treatment (7 items) with Eigenvalues of 5.7, 3.8 and 2.3 respectively. The final 22-item scale had good internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha 0.83) and correlated negatively with help-seeking intentions on the GHSQ (rs = -0.24 p < .001) and positively with the GHSQ item, “I would not seek help from anyone” (rs = 0.38 p < .001). The scale dimensions of low perceived need, stigma, and apprehension had adequate to good internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha of 0.83, 0.79 and 0.69 respectively) but only low perceived need for treatment correlated significantly with the GHSQ scores. Low perceived need was also related to less severe methamphetamine dependence, not having children, and not having received professional help for methamphetamine use. Stigma was associated with specific demographics (being employed, having children), polysubstance use, and having attended sessions with a counselor or psychologist. Apprehension was associated with poor mental health, more severe substance use, being a woman, and having received help from an ambulance. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: This short version of the Barriers Questionnaire (the Short Barriers Questionnaire; SBQ) is an internally consistent and valid scale for assessing low perceived need for treatment among people who use methamphetamine. Further work is needed to capture and validate other barriers to help-seeking for this population.
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