Research - Reducing Stigma & Discrimination

I Don’t Think this is Theoretical; This is our Lives

Bauer et al. (2009). JANAC;20(5)348-361. doi:10.1016/j.jana.2009.07.004.

The authors report on phase 1 of Trans Pulse, a Canadian-based transgender community research project investigating the problems transgender people have accessing healthcare. Recommended interventions proposed too. Read article here.

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Cultural context and a critical approach to eliminating health disparities

Griffith DM1, Johnson J, Ellis KR, and Schulz AJ. (2010). Ethnic Disparity;20(1):71-6.
The authors highlight the intersection of cultural and institutional racism as a mechanism through which racial inequities in social determinants of health persist. This distinction explains processes and structures that contribute to racial disparities persisting across time and outcomes. Read abstract here.

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Reduction of Stigma in Schools: An evaluation of the first three years

Payne, E and Smith, M. (2010). Issues in Teacher Education 19, 2: 11-36.

This article explores how educators’ response or lack of response to LGBTQ students affects their risk factors. It further evaluates the Reduction of Stigma in Schools (RSIS) professional development program implemented in upstate NY. RSIS focuses on three objectives: (a) to establish an understanding of the operation of stigma in schools and the relationship between stigma and risk for LGBTQ youth; (b) to provide education and tools for creating more positive learning environments for all students; and (c) to actively create opportunities for dialogue and change in support of LGBTQ students. The authors conclude with reflections on the barriers to creating sustainable change and provide recommendations for interventions that aim to address the systemic marginalization of sexual and gender-non-conforming youth. Read article here.

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Cancer and facial disfigurement: reducing survivors’ stigma in social interaction

Bonanno A, and Esmaeli B, (2012). Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing;16(2):153-9.
Survivors of cancer with tumors around the eye area (peri/orbital cancer) often have facial differences after the tumor/s are removed. The authors conducted a qualitative study to assess the social interaction leading to stigma in this population, as well as the experiences of their family members. Interactions with strangers were observed and named (intrusion, sympathy, and benign neglect) and how they do/don’t foster stigma. The authors also identified ways to manage stigma. Read abstract here.

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The effectiveness of interventions for reducing stigma related to substance use disorders: a systematic review

Livingston, J. D., Milne, T., Fang, M. L., & Amari, E. (2012).  Addiction (Abingdon, England), 107(1), 39–50.

The authors reviewed research on ways to reduce stigma related to substance use. They found differing ways to reduce stigma that have promise:

  • – Self-stigma is best reduced through individual and group psychotherapy
  • – Stigma imparted by institutions can be overcome throgh education and training to healthcare professionals, police officers, etc.
  • – Reducing social stigma through storytelling positive stories can be effective

 Read article here.


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The stigma of eating disorders

Gowers SG, Shore A. (1999). International Journal Clinical Practice; 53(5):386-8.

This review explores how the public and healthcare providers stigmatize people with eating disorders, and how this impedes treatment. The authors also explore strategies to reduce stigma to support this population.  Read abstract here.

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Shared Experiences Are Amplified

Boothby, EJ., Clark, MS., and Bargh JA. (2014). Psychological Science 1-8.

The researchers found that having shared pleasant and unpleasant experiences with others amplifies that experience. And, they found that sharing a pleasant experience is in general more pleasing than experiencing it alone. Most importantly, from a B Stigma-Free perspective, is that unpleasant experiences were LESS unpleasant when experienced with another person. Read article here. 


Dignity and Dreams What the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Means to Low-Income Families

Sykesa, J., Krizb, K., Edinc, K., and Halpern-Meekind, S. (2015). American Sociological Review, 80, 2: 243-267.

The authors interviewed 115 low-wage EITC recipients who said they valued the tax refund because they earned it, compared to shame and stigma from traditional welfare. Read abstract here.

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Take-up of Free School Meals: Price Effects and PeerEffects

Holford, Angus (2015). Economica82328: 976–993.

The author explores whether peer-group participation helps overcome stigma and its affect toward improving students’ utilization of free lunch programs in schools. Read abstract here.

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Mental illness stigma: Concepts, consequences, and initiatives to reduce stigma

Rusch, N., Angermeyer, MC., and Corrigan, PW. (2005). European Psychiatry, 20, 8: 529–539.
The authors explore mental illness stigma and its consequences. They then delve deeper, focusing on self-stigma/empowerment and fear of stigma as a barrier to accessing healthcare. They also examine protest, education and contact as characteristics of stigma-reduction campaigns. Read abstract here. 

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Criminal Stigma, Race, Gender and Employment: An Expanded Assessment of the Consequences of Imprisonment for Employment

Scott H. Decker, SH., Spohn, C., Ortiz, NR., Hedberg, E. (2014.) US Department of Justice

The authors conducted an extensive multi-part research study on the impact of a criminal record on employment, with comparisons of Blacks, Whites and Hispanics, as well as often unexamined women. The study included an assessment of on-line job applications, in-person job interviews and surveys of employers. Read report here. 

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Active Ingredients in Anti-stigma Programmes in Mental Health

Pinfold, V., Thornicroft, G., Huxley, P., Farmer, P. (2005.) International Review of Psychiatry;17(2):123-31.

The authors reviewed literature and a mental health program in England. They concluded that stories about personal experiences from people with mental illness had the greatest impact on reducing stigma. Read abstract here.

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Strategies for reducing stigma toward persons with mental illness

Penn, DL, and Couture, SM (2002.) World Psychiatry; 1(1): 20–21.
The authors’ commentary about Corrigan and Watson’s article about the impact of stigma on people with serious mental illness addresses one aspect :  reducing stigma. They suggest that efforts to suppress negative stereotypes about people with mental illness actually increases stigmatizing behavior, rather than decreases it. They also suggest that increased education and contact with people who have mental illnesses reduces stigmatizing behavior. Read commentary here.

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World Alzheimer Report 2012: Overcoming the stigma of dementia.

Batsch NL, Mittelman MS.  (2012.) Alzheimer’s Disease International.

In this report the authors explore the stigma of dementia by surveying people with dementia and their caregivers. Guest essayists contributed and literature was reviewed. They also identified stigma-reducing projects, and suggest that this must be the first step to improving the lives of people with dementia and their caregivers. Read report here.

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Interpersonal contact and the stigma of mental illness: A review of the literature

Couture, SM and Penn, DL (2003.) Journal of Mental Health (June 2003) 12, 3, 291 – 305

The authors reviewed existing literature that suggests interpersonal contact as a method of addressing the stigma of mental illness and provides considerations and suggestions for future research. Read article here. 

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Challenging two mental illness stigmas: Personal responsibility and dangerousness

Corrigan, P.W., Rowan, D., Green, A., et al. (2002). Schizophrenia Bulletin, 28, 293-309.

The authors explored how perceptions of dangerousness and personal responsibility related to people with mental illness  may undermine the opportunities of persons with serious mental illness. Fear of dangerousness was a key attitude leading to discriminatory behavior, and contact with people who have mental illnesses positively influenced behavior. Read article here.


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The Use of Criminal History Records in College Admissions: Reconsidered

Weissman, Marsha; Rosenthal, Alan; Warth, Patricia; Wolf, Elaine; Messina-Yauchzy, Michael; Siegel, Loren (2010). The Center for Community Alternatives (CCA):  Innovative Solutions for Justice.

This report explores the use of criminal history screening in college admissions procedures, and concludes that the collection and use of this information is problematic for several reasons. Read report here. 

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The psychology of prejudice

Patrick, George Thomas White, (1890.) Popular Science Monthly, 36: 633-643.

Patrick’s writing from over a century ago delves into what we know, and how we know it. He writes, “All knowledge is the result of the union of two factors, one objective and one subjective. To know anything is to refer it to something known before.” He takes this principle and applies it to bias and prejudice, in an attempt to understand the root causes of stigma. Read article here.

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Concealable Stigmatized Identities and Psychological Well-Being

Quinn, DM, and Earnshaw, VA (2013.) Social and Personality Psychology Compass; 7(1): 40–51.

The authors discuss how identities that are socially devalued or negatively stereotyped affect psychological well-being, They explore existing research and areas to explore in the future.  Read article here.

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Understanding Concealable Stigmatized Identities: The Role of Identity in Psychological, Physical, and Behavioral Outcomes

Quinn, DM, and Earnshaw, VA (2011.) Social Issues and Policy Review, 5, 1:160–190

The authors argue that stigma, discrimination, disclosure reactions and positive information, coupled with the importance of the identity determine how people with concealable stigmatized identities (e.g. mental illness, chronic disease) influence their psychological, physical, and behavioral health outcomes. Suggestions for policy implications are included.  Read article here.


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Embarrassment when illness strikes a close relative: A World Mental Health Survey Consortium multi-site study

Ahmedani, BK, Kubiak, SP, Kessler, RC et al. (2013.) Psychological Medicine; 43:10, 2191-2202.

Family members of people with alcohol, drug, or mental health conditions experience higher levels of embarrassment compared to family members of people with general medical conditions. This research suggests that interventions addressing stigma experienced by family members with alcohol, drug or mental health conditions may be needed to overcome obstacles for early intervention and treatment. Read abstract here. 

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How clinical diagnosis might exacerbate the stigma of mental illness.

Corrigan, P.W. (2007.) Social Work. 52(1):31-9.

Diagnosis and the labeling of people with mental illness leads to both mental health providers and the public grouping people together, stereotyping and stigmatizing them. Read abstract here.

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Internet comments on media reporting of two adolescents’ collective suicide attempt.

Sisask, M., Varnik, A, and Wasserman, D. (2006.) Archives of Suicide Research, 9(1):87-98.

This article explored the spontaneous on-line comments provided by readers of seven different Internet articles of the same double-suicide attempt. The authors write that the general population’s attitude about suicide is influenced by its reporting. Read abstract here.

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The stigma of suicide.

Tadros, G. and Jolley, D. (2001). The British Journal of Psychiatry, 179:178.

This correspondence asserts that to reduce suicide we must first addresses the blame and stigma toward the person and his/her family members. Read letter here.  

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Health-related stigma: Rethinking concepts and interventions.

Weiss, M. G., Ramakrishna, J., & Somma, D. (2006). Psychology, Health & Medicine11(3), 277-287.

Stigma can be a hidden burden of illness, characterized by social disqualification of individuals and populations who are identified with particular health problems. Social disqualification can also target ethnicity, sexual preferences or socio-economic status, thereby limiting access to services and creating other social disadvantages that have adverse effects on health. Read article here.


Disease and stigma: A review of literature.

Pettit, M. L. (2008). Health Educator40(2), 70-76.

This review presents a review of literature pertaining to disease and stigma. Specifically, a definition, an historical overview, and research trends related to three public health perils: AIDS, mental illness, and obesity. Read article here.


Dual psychological processes underlying public stigma and the implications for reducing stigma.

Reeder, G. D., & Pryor, J. B. (2008). Mens sana monographs, 6(1), 175.

By increasing understanding of the causes of public stigma, the groundwork is laid for future interventions that will combat public stigma and disrupt the cycle of discrimination, poverty and illness. Read article here.


In our own voice-family companion: Reducing self-stigma of family members of persons with serious mental illness.

Perlick, D. A., Nelson, A. H., Mattias, K., Selzer, J., Kalvin, C., Wilber, C. H. & Corrigan, P. W. (2011). Psychiatric Services, 62(12), 1456-1462.

This article reports preliminary findings from a family peer-based intervention designed to reduce self-stigma among family members of people with serious mental illness. Read article here.


Reduction of stigma in schools: An evaluation of the first three years.

Payne, E., & Smith, M. (2010). Issues in Teacher Education, 19(2), 26.

This article asserts that educators need to gain a clear understanding of the ways in which LGBTQ youth experience their schools, they need new ways to “see” both their own interactions and the student interactions going on around them, and they need tools for change. Read article here.

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The Carter Center Mental Health Program: Addressing the public health crisis in the field of mental health through policy change and stigma reduction.

Palpant, R. G., Steimnitz, R., Bornemann, T. H., & Hawkins, K. (2006). Preventing chronic disease, 3(2).

This article focuses on increasing public knowledge, and decreasing the stigma, associated with mental illnesses through four strategic goals: reducing stigma and discrimination against people with mental illnesses; achieving equity of mental health care comparable with other health services; advancing early promotion, prevention, and early intervention services for children and their families; and increasing public awareness about mental illnesses and mental health issues. Read article here.

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Empirical studies of self-stigma reduction strategies: A critical review of the literature.

Mittal, D., Sullivan, G., Chekuri, L., Allee, E., & Corrigan, P. W. (2012). Psychiatric Services, 63(10), 974-981.

This article provides a comprehensive review of published literature about strategies to reduce self-stigma among people with mental illness. Recommendations and implications for research also are discussed. Read article here.


Challenging mental health-related stigma through social contact.

London, J., & Evans-Lacko, S. E. (2010). The European Journal of Public Health, 20(2), 130-131.

Authors propose that the development of novel and innovative ways of incorporating social contact in the field of public mental health will make a significant impact towards decreasing stigma and discrimination against those with mental illness. Read article here.

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Stop the stigma: Call mental illness a brain disease.

Corrigan, P. W., & Watson, A. C. (2004). Schizophrenia Bulletin, 30(3), 477.

Authors propose challenging myths and stigma about mental illness by educating the public that mental illness is a brain disease. Read article here.


Challenging the public stigma of mental illness: A meta-analysis of outcome studies.

Corrigan, P. W., Morris, S. B., Michaels, P. J., Rafacz, J. D., & Rüsch, N. (2012). Psychiatric Services, 63(10), 963-973.

This article reports on a meta-analysis that examines the effects of anti-stigma approaches that includes protests and social activism, education of the public, and contact with persons with mental illness. Read article here.


Stigma of mental illness and ways of diminishing it.

Byrne, P. (2000). Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 6(1), 65-72.

The nature of stigma will change as the practices of discrimination are successfully challenged: the task is to identify prejudice in whatever context address it. Psychiatry must collaborate with other fields in identifying problems and effecting enduring solutions. Read article here.


At Issue: Will the Term Brain Disease Reduce Stigma and Promote Parity for Mental Illnesses?

Jorm, A. F., & Griffiths, K. M. (2008). Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 118(4), 315-321.

The author questions both the scientific evidence and potential effect of the current trend to change the language used to describe certain serious mental illnesses to “brain diseases.” It is argued that changing nomenclature will not reduce stigma unless treatment options for the seriously mentally ill are improved. Read article here.

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Reducing stigma and discrimination: Candidate interventions.

Graham, T., Elaine, B., Aliya, K., & Elanor, L. H. International Journal of Mental Health Systems.

Stigma in relation to mental illness can be understood as a combination of ignorance, prejudice and discrimination. Candidate interventions are identified which may be effective in reducing stigmatization and discrimination at the individual, community, state and national level.  Read article here.

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Understanding the impact of stigma on people with mental illness.

Corrigan, P. W., & Watson, A. C. (2002). World Psychiatry, 1(1), 16-20.
The authors examine how people with serious mental illness struggle with both the symptoms of the disease and the stereotypes and prejudice that result from misconceptions about it. Corrigan and Watson explore ways of addressing this stigma, through protest, education and contact with those affected. Read article here.

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