Social stigma is the disapproval of, or discrimination against, a person based on perceivable social characteristics that serve to distinguish them from other. What is mental health stigma?: Mental health stigma can be divided into two distinct types: social stigma is characterized by prejudicial attitudes. Fortunately, social psychologists and sociologists have been studying phenomena related to stigma in other minority groups for several decades. In this paper.
This can result in social stigma. From the perspective of the stigmatizer, stigmatization involves, threat, aversion [ clarification needed ] and sometimes the depersonalization of others into stereotypic caricatures. Stigmatizing others can serve several functions for an individual, including self-esteem enhancement, control enhancement, and anxiety buffering, through downward-comparison —comparing oneself to less fortunate others can increase one's own subjective sense of well-being and therefore boost one's self-esteem.
Current views of stigma, from the perspectives of both the stigmatizer and the stigmatized person, consider the process of stigma to be highly situationally specific, dynamic, complex and nonpathological.
German born sociologist and historian Gerhard Falk wrote: All societies will always stigmatize some conditions and some behaviors because doing so provides for group solidarity by delineating "outsiders" from "insiders". Falk  describes stigma based on two categories, existential stigma and achieved stigma. He defines existential stigma as "stigma deriving from a condition which the target of the stigma either did not cause or over which he has little control.
Falk concludes that "we and all societies will always stigmatize some condition and some behavior because doing so provides for group solidarity by delineating 'outsiders' from 'insiders'".
The majority of stigma researchers have found the process of stigmatization has a long history and is cross-culturally ubiquitous. Bruce Link and Jo Phelan propose that stigma exists when four specific components converge: In this model stigmatization is also contingent on "access to social , economic , and political power that allows the identification of differences, construction of stereotypes , the separation of labeled persons into distinct groups, and the full execution of disapproval, rejection , exclusion, and discrimination.
Identifying which human differences are salient, and therefore worthy of labeling, is a social process. There are two primary factors to examine when considering the extent to which this process is a social one. The first issue is that significant oversimplification is needed to create groups. The broad groups of black and white , homosexual and heterosexual , the sane and the mentally ill ; and young and old are all examples of this. Secondly, the differences that are socially judged to be relevant differ vastly according to time and place.
An example of this is the emphasis that was put on the size of forehead and faces of individuals in the late 19th century—which was believed to be a measure of a person's criminal nature. The second component of this model centers on the linking of labeled differences with stereotypes. Goffman's work made this aspect of stigma prominent and it has remained so ever since.
This process of applying certain stereotypes to differentiated groups of individuals has attracted a large amount of attention and research in recent decades. Thirdly, linking negative attributes to groups facilitates separation into "us" and "them". Seeing the labeled group as fundamentally different causes stereotyping with little hesitation. At this extreme, the most horrific events occur. The fourth component of stigmatization in this model includes "status loss and discrimination ".
Many definitions of stigma do not include this aspect, however these authors believe that this loss occurs inherently as individuals are "labeled, set apart, and linked to undesirable characteristics. Thus, stigmatization by the majorities, the powerful, or the "superior" leads to the Othering of the minorities, the powerless, and the "inferior".
Where by the stigmatized individuals become disadvantaged due to the ideology created by "the self," which is the opposing force to "the Other. The authors also emphasize [ citation needed ] the role of power social , economic , and political power in stigmatization.
While the use of power is clear in some situations, in others it can become masked as the power differences are less stark. An extreme example of a situation in which the power role was explicitly clear was the treatment of Jewish people by the Nazis. On the other hand, an example of a situation in which individuals of a stigmatized group have "stigma-related processes" [ clarification needed ] occurring would be the inmates of a prison.
It is imaginable that each of the steps described above would occur regarding the inmates' thoughts about the guards. However, this situation cannot involve true stigmatization, according to this model, because the prisoners do not have the economic, political, or social power to act on these thoughts with any serious discriminatory consequences.
Hughey explains that prior research on stigma has emphasized individual and group attempts to reduce stigma by 'passing as normal', by shunning the stigmatized, or through selective disclosure of stigmatized attributes. Yet, some actors may embrace particular markings of stigma e. Hence, Hughey argues that some actors do not simply desire to 'pass into normal' but may actively pursue a stigmatized identity formation process in order to experience themselves as causal agents in their social environment.
Hughey calls this phenomenon 'stigma allure'. While often incorrectly attributed to Goffman the "Six Dimensions of Stigma" were not his invention. They were developed to augment Goffman's two levels — the discredited and the discreditable. Goffman considered individuals whose stigmatizing attributes are not immediately evident. In that case, the individual can encounter two distinct social atmospheres.
In the first, he is discreditable —his stigma has yet to be revealed, but may be revealed either intentionally by him in which case he will have some control over how or by some factor he cannot control.
Of course, it also might be successfully concealed; Goffman called this passing. In this situation, the analysis of stigma is concerned only with the behaviors adopted by the stigmatized individual to manage his identity: In the second atmosphere, he is discredited —his stigma has been revealed and thus it affects not only his behavior but the behavior of others.
There are six dimensions that match these two types of stigma: In Unraveling the contexts of stigma , authors Campbell and Deacon describe Goffman's universal and historical forms of Stigma as the following.
Stigma occurs when an individual is identified as deviant , linked with negative stereotypes that engender prejudiced attitudes, which are acted upon in discriminatory behavior. Goffman illuminated how stigmatized people manage their "Spoiled identity" meaning the stigma disqualifies the stigmatized individual from full social acceptance before audiences of normals. He focused on stigma, not as a fixed or inherent attribute of a person, but rather as the experience and meaning of difference.
Gerhard Falk expounds upon Goffman's work by redefining deviant as "others who deviate from the expectations of a group" and by categorizing deviance into two types:. The physically disabled, mentally ill, homosexuals, and a host of others who are labeled deviant because they deviate from the expectations of a group, are subject to stigmatization- the social rejection of numerous individuals, and often entire groups of people who have been labeled deviant.
Communication is involved in creating, maintaining, and diffusing stigmas, and enacting stigmatization. Stigma, though powerful and enduring, is not inevitable, and can be challenged. There are two important aspects to challenging stigma: To challenge stigmatization, Campbell et al. In relation to challenging the internalized stigma of the stigmatized, Paulo Freire 's theory of critical consciousness is particularly suitable. Cornish provides an example of how sex workers in Sonagachi , a red light district in India, have effectively challenged internalized stigma by establishing that they are respectable women, who admirably take care of their families, and who deserve rights like any other worker.
Stigmatized groups often harbor cultural tools to respond to stigma and to create a positive self-perception among their members. For example, advertising professionals have been shown to suffer from negative portrayal and low approval rates. However, the advertising industry collectively maintains narratives describing how advertisement is a positive and socially valuable endeavor, and advertising professionals draw on these narratives to respond to stigma.
Research undertaken to determine effects of social stigma primarily focuses on disease-associated stigmas. Disabilities, psychiatric disorders, and sexually transmitted diseases are among the diseases currently scrutinized by researchers. In studies involving such diseases, both positive and negative effects of social stigma have been discovered. Members of stigmatized groups may have lower self-esteem than those of nonstigmatized groups. A test could not be taken on the overall self-esteem of different races.
Researchers would have to take into account whether these people are optimistic or pessimistic, whether they are male or female and what kind of place they grew up in. Over the last two decades, many studies have reported that African Americans show higher global self-esteem than whites even though, as a group, African Americans tend to receive poorer outcomes in many areas of life and experience significant discrimination and stigma.
Empirical research on stigma associated with mental disorders, pointed to a surprising attitude of the general public. Those who were told that mental disorders had a genetic basis were more prone to increase their social distance from the mentally ill, and also to assume that the ill were dangerous individuals, in contrast with those members of the general public who were told that the illnesses could be explained by social and environment factors.
Furthermore, those informed of the genetic basis were also more likely to stigmatize the entire family of the ill. Currently, several researchers believe that mental disorders are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Therefore, this biological rationale suggests that individuals struggling with a mental illness do not have control over the origin of the disorder. Much like cancer or another type of physical disorder, persons suffering from mental disorders should be supported and encouraged to seek help.
Unlike physical disabilities , there is a negative social stigma surrounding mental illness, with those suffering being perceived to have control of their disabilities and being responsible for causing them.
How particular mental disorders are represented in the media can vary, as well as the stigma associated with each. In the music industry, specifically in the genre of hip-hop or rap, those who speak out on mental illness are heavily criticized. However, according to a The Huffington Post article, there's a significant increase in rappers who are breaking their silence on depression and anxiety. Throughout history, addiction has largely been seen as a moral failing or character flaw, as opposed to an issue of public health.
In Taiwan , strengthening the psychiatric rehabilitation system has been one of the primary goals of the Department of Health since Unfortunately, this endeavor has not been successful and it is believed that one of the barriers is social stigma towards the mentally ill. A survey method was utilized on 1, subjects nationally.
The results revealed that the general population held high levels of benevolence, tolerance on rehabilitation in the community, and nonsocial restrictiveness. It could then be inferred that the belief held by the residents of Taiwan in treating the mentally ill with high regard, somewhat eliminated the stigma.
Epilepsy , a common neurological disorder characterised by recurring seizures , is associated with various social stigmas. Chung-yan Gardian Fong and Anchor Hung conducted a study in Hong Kong which documented public attitudes towards individuals with epilepsy.
Of the 1, subjects interviewed, only In the early 21st century, technology has a large impact on the lives of people in multiple countries and has become a social norm. Many people own a television, computer, and a smart phone. The media can be helpful with keeping people up to date on news and world issues and it is very influential on people.
Because it is so influential sometimes the portrayal of minority groups affects attitudes of other groups toward them. Much media coverage has to do with other parts of the world. A lot of this coverage has to do with war and conflict, which people may relate to any person belonging from that country.
There is a tendency to focus more in the positive behaviour of one's own group and the negative behaviours of other groups. This promotes negative thoughts of people belonging to those other groups, reinforcing stereotypical beliefs.
They are concerned for the integrity of the social order and show disapproval of others. Emotions such as sadness and fear are shown much more rarely. In a study testing the effects of stereotypical advertisements on students, 75 high school students viewed magazine advertisements with stereotypical female images such as a woman working on a holiday dinner, while 50 others viewed non stereotypical images such as a woman working in a law office.
These groups then responded to statements about women in a "neutral" photograph. In this photo a woman was shown in a casual outfit not doing any obvious task. The students that saw the stereotypical images tended to answer the questionnaires with more stereotypical responses in 6 of the 12 questionnaire statements.
This suggests that even brief exposure to stereotypical ads reinforces stereotypes. The aforementioned stigmas associated with their respective diseases propose effects that these stereotypes have on individuals. Whether effects be negative or positive in nature, 'labeling' people causes a significant change in individual perception of persons with disease. Perhaps a mutual understanding of stigma, achieved through education, could eliminate social stigma entirely.
Coleman first adapted Erving Goffman 's social stigma theory to gifted children, providing a rationale for why children may hide their abilities and present alternate identities to their peers. Coleman and Tracy L. Cross in their book entitled, Being Gifted In School , which is a widely cited reference in the field of gifted education. Coleman and Cross were the first to identify intellectual giftedness as a stigmatizing condition and they created a model based on Goffman's work, research with gifted students,  and a book that was written and edited by 20 teenage, gifted individuals.
Varying expectations that exist in the different social contexts which children must navigate, and the value judgments that may be assigned to the child result in the child's use of social coping strategies to manage his or her identity. Unlike other stigmatizing conditions, giftedness is a unique because it can lead to praise or ridicule depending on the audience and circumstances. Gifted children learn when it is safe to display their giftedness and when they should hide it to better fit in with a group.
These observations led to the development of the Information Management Model that describes the process by which children decide to employ coping strategies to manage their identities. Most people who experience mental health problems recover fully, or are able to live with and manage them, especially if they get help early on.
But even though so many people are affected, there is a strong social stigma attached to mental ill health, and people with mental health problems can experience discrimination in all aspects of their lives. Nearly nine out of ten people with mental health problems say that stigma and discrimination have a negative effect on their lives.
We know that people with mental health problems are amongst the least likely of any group with a long-term health condition or disability to:. This is because society in general has stereotyped views about mental illness and how it affects people. Many people believe that people with mental ill health are violent and dangerous, when in fact they are more at risk of being attacked or harming themselves than harming other people.
Stigma and discrimination can also worsen someone's mental health problems, and delay or impede their getting help and treatment, and their recovery. Social isolation, poor housing, unemployment and poverty are all linked to mental ill health. So stigma and discrimination can trap people in a cycle of illness. The situation is exacerbated by the media. Media reports often link mental illness with violence, or portray people with mental health problems as dangerous, criminal, evil, or very disabled and unable to live normal, fulfilled lives.
Research shows that the best way to challenge these stereotypes is through firsthand contact with people with experience of mental health problems. A number of national and local campaigns are trying to change public attitudes to mental illness.
Social stigma contributes to poor mental health in the autistic community
One additional way social workers may seek to mitigate social stigma on a micro- level is via the family. Family. It's what mental health professionals call “social stigma.” Essentially, social stigma is the negative view that others can project onto people who. PDF | This paper presents an integrative review of current and classic theory and research on social stigma and its consequences for the.