Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Multilevel approach to coping with stigmas may help relieve many health issues

Date:
February 20, 2014
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
Socially stigmatized groups have poorer health than non-stigmatized groups, but a team of researchers believes that more emphasis on two-way and multidisciplinary interventions will have a greater and more successful impact on relieving many health issues. Stigma results when a negative stereotype becomes attached to a particular characteristic in societal consciousness. People with this specific characteristic come to be seen as lower in status than others and therefore separate. Once separate, these groups become a target for discrimination. Stigma can affect interactions, the availability of resources and the way people think and feel, leading to social exclusion -- which is associated with an increased risk of mortality.

Socially stigmatized groups have poorer health than non-stigmatized groups, but a team of researchers believes that more emphasis on two-way and multidisciplinary interventions will have a greater and more successful impact on relieving many health issues.

Related Articles


"We took an interdisciplinary approach to understanding how to reduce health disparities due to the effects of social stigma, including stigmas based on race, sexual orientation and chronic illness," said Jonathan Cook, assistant professor of psychology, Penn State.

Stigma results when a negative stereotype becomes attached to a particular characteristic in societal consciousness. People with this specific characteristic come to be seen as lower in status than others and therefore separate. Once separate, these groups become a target for discrimination. Stigma can affect interactions, the availability of resources and the way people think and feel, leading to social exclusion -- which is associated with an increased risk of mortality.

Cook and colleagues found that many current coping mechanisms are focused at the individual and group level or at the structural level, but rarely both. At the individual and group level, intervention is often focused on providing education and intergroup contact for members of non-stigmatized groups and helping to bolster coping strategies for members of stigmatized groups. Interventions at the structural level are focused on changing laws and portrayal in popular media.

Stronger interdisciplinary collaboration can help fight against stigma by looking at the issue from multiple angles. In turn, the researchers explain, there would be a reciprocal effect moving from individual to structural and back.

"We found that people don't often look at outcomes across disciplines, and people haven't done much longitudinal work in this area," said Cook. "It's important to look at intervention outcomes over longer periods of time to better understand how change takes place."

The researchers are four of the founding members of a larger group, the Structural Stigma and Population Health Working Group at Columbia University, and report their results in the current special issue of Social Science and Medicine.

Educational approaches can be effective at reducing some stigmas, including mental illness and HIV/AIDS. For instance, six months after providing HIV testing, education and counseling to residents of Zambia a decrease in stigmatizing attitudes was found there.

Legislative interventions have been shown to improve the health of stigmatized groups. For example, in the 1960s and '70s, following the Civil Rights Act, a dramatic drop occurred in the rate at which African Americans died -- particularly in the Southern states. The researchers note that this drop can be linked to the enactment of the legislation.

"Interventions can take place at multiple points in the system. It may be most effective to simultaneously focus on change at the individual level and larger societal level," said Cook. "Change can be implemented from the bottom up more often, even while efforts at structural change from the top down are still occurring."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Multilevel approach to coping with stigmas may help relieve many health issues." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220141729.htm>.
Penn State. (2014, February 20). Multilevel approach to coping with stigmas may help relieve many health issues. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220141729.htm
Penn State. "Multilevel approach to coping with stigmas may help relieve many health issues." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220141729.htm (accessed January 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

AP (Jan. 30, 2015) The NFL announced this week that the number of game concussions dropped by a quarter over last season. Still, the dangers of the sport still weigh on players, and parents&apos; minds. (Jan. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Shows Newborn Chicks Count From Left to Right Just Like Humans

Study Shows Newborn Chicks Count From Left to Right Just Like Humans

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) Researchers for the first time identified human&apos;s innate preference for associating low and high numbers with the left and right respectively in another species. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Best Mood Elevating, Feel Good Shakes & Smoothies

Best Mood Elevating, Feel Good Shakes & Smoothies

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) You can elevate your mood by having a meal in a glass. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) offers the best &apos;feel good&apos; smoothies and shakes chock full of depression-relieving ingredients...including apples, berries, lemons, cucumbers, papaya, kiwi, spinach, kale, whey protein, matcha, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Poll Says Firstborn Is Responsible, Youngest Is Funnier

Poll Says Firstborn Is Responsible, Youngest Is Funnier

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) According to a poll out of the U.K., eldest siblings feel more responsible and successful than their younger siblings. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins