OBJECTIVES: Stigma research has been criticized for excluding the views of those exposed to stigmatizing reactions. While this changed with the advent of qualitative research into stigma, population-based data on the prevalence, severity and consequences of stigma experiences are lacking. The present study aims at field-testing the German version of the Inventory of Stigmatizing Experiences (ISE) , developed to investigate the epidemiology of "felt stigma". METHODS: The ISE is a semi-structured questionnaire composed of two scales: one measuring the scope of stigma experienced in different life domains (SES; 9 items), the other assessing their psychosocial impact (SIS; 7 items). The instrument was translated into German, using the three-step procedure proposed by WHO (translation, back-translation, feasibility testing). Field-testing of the German version was carried out on 95 service users. RESULTS: The German version of the ISE shows good reliabilities for both the stigma experiences (SES; alpha = 0.74) and stigma impact (SIS; alpha = 0.86) scales. 54.4 % of service users report stigma experiences across the SES; 72 % of these are recent and thus susceptible for interventions. CONCLUSIONS: The German version of the ISE is a compact and reliable tool for measuring the prevalence and impact of felt stigma, with potential uses in both population-based stigma research and clinical practice. Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart.New York.