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Stigma Reduction

  • By: Michelle K. Baker
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Stigma reduction is the purposive effort to reduce stigma or stigmatization associated with a health condition. Briefly, a stigma is the social disgrace associated with a particular characteristic that marks a person as unusual or morally bad. According to Erving Goffman, stigma can reduce a person to being less than human and minimize the life chances of the person. Similarly, stigmatization is the process by which people categorize or stereotype individuals and groups, develop negative attitudes and emotional responses (e.g., fear, anger, disgust), and enact discriminatory behaviors as a result.

Stigma has been identified as a leading barrier to health treatment-seeking, prolonged disease transmission, and lack of treatment adherence. In regard to health care, stigma has been associated with impediments to research, public health efforts to ...

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