Stigma, a word derived from ancient Greek, was originally used to describe a mark that had been cut or burned onto one’s body to signify his or her status as a criminal, a slave, or morally corrupt. Today, stigma is a term used to describe any characteristic that leads one to be devalued in society. Stigma characteristics can lead to negative evaluations of, and attitudes and behavior toward, individuals who possess these characteristics. That is, stigmatization is composed of stereotypes about, prejudicial attitudes toward, and discriminatory behavior toward individuals with stigma characteristics. At a broader level, this leads to society-level inequalities such as economic disparities and housing discrimination between stigmatized and nonstigmatized individuals.

The amount of negativity one experiences based on his or her stigma characteristics ...

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