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Stigmatization: Courtesy Stigma

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

People who associate with stigmatized people can experience stigmatization themselves, as if they are also members of the stigmatized group. Erving Goffman labeled this stigma-by-association a “courtesy stigma,” an ironic term to describe how communities can do the “courtesy” of extending associates the stigma and stigmatizing experiences. Courtesy stigma may affect loved ones and health care providers of those living with stigmatized health conditions through their professional associations, interactions, or kinship with them.

Voluntary Associations

A courtesy stigma can be provided to those who have professional relationships with patients diagnosed with stigmatized health conditions. The concept of a dirty job, for example, can represent health professions or specific positions that inherently demand interaction with stigmatized persons. A medical technician who works in a wing designated for those ...

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