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Stigmatization

  • By: Rachel A. Smith
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Stigmas that exist around health conditions have been considered a leading barrier to health promotion, treatment, and support. Stigmas are fixed, simplified conceptions of groups and their members that emphasize them as discredited, devalued, and deviant. Stigmas are social constructions that must be communicated and shared within a community in order to be taught and enacted. Stigmatization as a multifaceted process, then, includes sharing stigma messages with others and acting in ways to protect the rest of the community from stigmatized others. These actions may include marking stigmatized persons for easy identification, limiting stigmatized persons' interactions with the rest of the community, and regulating their lives. Regulating could include registering them, monitoring them, and providing medical procedures for them, even if unwanted.

Stigmatization is inherently intertwined ...

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