Stigmatization Definition Psychology

Stigma is not in a person, but in a social context. For example, gays and lesbians in the United States are stigmatized in a number of situations, but not in a gay bar. African Americans are stigmatized at school, but not on the basketball court. This contextual aspect of stigma means that even attributes that are not normally considered stigmatizing can still lead to social devaluation in some social contexts (e.g., heterosexual at a gay pride gathering). However, some brands are so prevalent in society that they lead to the stigmatization of the bearers of these marks in a variety of situations and relationships. The consequences of stigma are much more severe for these people than for those who are stigmatized only in very limited contexts. Other coping strategies focus on managing the negative emotions or threats to self-esteem that stigma can cause. For example, stigmatized people may face threats to their identity by separating their self-esteem from areas where they are negatively stereotyped, or fear being discriminated against and investing more in areas where they are less vulnerable. When they encounter negative treatment, another coping strategy they can employ is to shift (often rightly) blame from the stable aspects of themselves (“I`m stupid,” “I`m unsympathetic”) to the biases of others. This strategy can protect their self-esteem from negative outcomes, especially if the biases are blatant. Stigma carriers can also cope by identifying or connecting with others who share their stigma. Similarly, stigmatized people can provide social support, a sense of belonging, and protection from feelings of rejection and isolation.

In addition, attachment to others who are similarly stigmatized can also enable wearers to make social changes that benefit their stigmatized group, as evidenced by the success of the civil rights movement and the gay pride movement. In summary, it can be said that stigma carriers can also demonstrate resilience in the face of social devaluation through various coping strategies. Another dimension of stigma that is often discussed in stigma research is origin. As in the definition given above, mental and behavioural disorders are often at least partially assumed; develop from biological and genetic factors – i.e. Origin (APA, 2000). This has a direct impact on the controllability dimension (Corrigan, et al., 2001). In this dimension, it is often believed in society that mental and behavioural disorders are personally controllable and that if individuals cannot get better on their own, they will lack personal effort (Crocker, 1996), they will be held responsible for their condition and considered personally responsible (Corrigan, et al., 2001). Anyone who has had personal or professional experience with mental illness can tell you that despite advances in psychiatry and psychology, a huge stigma remains. While people are generally better informed about mental disorders, stigma continues to be a reality. Jones, E., Farina, A., Hastorf, A., Markus, H., Miller, D. T., & Scott, R. (1984).

Social stigma: The psychology of strong relationships. New York: Freeman. The most established definition of stigma was written by Erving Goffman (1963) in his seminal book, Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity. Goffman (1963) notes that stigma is “a deeply discrediting attribute” that “reduces someone from a whole and ordinary person to a corrupt and neglected person” (p. 3). The stigmatized are thus perceived as a “spoiled identity” (Goffman, 1963, p. 3). In the social work literature, Dudley (2000), building on Goffman`s original conceptualization, defined stigma as stereotypes or negative opinions attributed to an individual or groups of people when their characteristics or behaviors are considered different from or inferior to social norms. Because of its use in the social work literature, Dudley`s (2000) definition provides an excellent attitude for developing an understanding of stigma. In this model, stigma also depends on “access to social, economic and political power, which allows the identification of differences, the construction of stereotypes, the separation of marked people into different groups and the complete execution of disapproval, rejection, exclusion and discrimination”. Subsequently, in this model, the term stigma is applied when labelling, stereotyping, separation, loss of status and discrimination all exist in a position of power that facilitates the emergence of stigma. Carriers face stigma in a variety of ways.

Some adaptation efforts are problem-oriented. For example, stigmatized people may try to remove the mark that is the source of the stigma, such as when an overweight person diets or a stutterer registers in speech therapy. This strategy, of course, is not available to carriers whose stigma cannot be eliminated. Carriers may also cope by trying to avoid stigma, such as when someone with hidden stigma “passes” as a member of a more valuable group, or when an overweight person avoids going to the gym or beach. This coping strategy can significantly limit the daily lives of stigmatized people. Stigmatized people may also cope by trying to overcome stigma by compensating or striving even harder in areas where they are negatively stereotyped or devalued. For example, one study showed that obese women who believed that an interaction partner could see them (and therefore that their weight could negatively affect the interaction) compensated by behaving even more socially than obese women who thought their interaction partner could not see them. While this strategy can be effective, it can also be exhausting, especially in the face of huge obstacles. From the stigmatizer`s perspective, stigma involves threatening, aversion, and sometimes depersonalizing others in stereotypical caricatures. Stigmatizing others can perform several functions for an individual, including improving self-esteem, improving control, and alleviating anxiety through comparison downwards – comparing oneself to others less fortunate can increase one`s subjective well-being and therefore increase self-esteem. [17] The authors also highlight the role of power (social, economic and political power) in stigmatization. While the use of power is clear in some situations, it can be masked in others because the differences in power are less severe.

An extreme example of a situation in which the role of power was explicitly clear was the treatment of the Jewish people by the Nazis. On the other hand, an example of a situation in which people from a stigmatized group undergo “stigmatization processes”[clarification needed] would be prison inmates. It is conceivable that each of the steps described above is related to inmates` thoughts about guards. However, according to this model, this situation cannot imply a real stigmatization, since prisoners do not have the economic, political or social power to act on these ideas with serious discriminatory consequences.