Research: Stigma & Disease

Traumatic Brain Injury

Perceived stigma, strain, and mental health among caregivers of veterans with traumatic brain injury. Phelan, SM, Griffin, JM, Hellerstedt, WL, Sayer, NA, Jensen, AC, Burgess, DJ and van Ryn, M. Disability and Health Journal, 4(3); 177-184, 2011.

The researchers found that when veterans with traumatic brain injury’s caregivers’ perceived discrimination and stigma, the caregivers experienced poor mental health outcomes. Read abstract here.


Diagnostic Labels, Stigma, and Participation in Research Related to Dementia and Mild Cognitive Impairment. Garand, L., Lingler, J.H., Conner, K.O., and Dew, M.A. Research in Gerontological Nursing, 2(2): 112–121. 2009.

There is a stigma associated with the labels of dementia and mild cognitive impairment that impedes peoples’ willingness to seek and receive care. Read article here.


Workplace discrimination and traumatic brain injury: the national EEOC ADA research project. McMahon, B.T., West S.L., Shaw, L.R., Waid-Ebbs K., Belongia, L. Work 25(1):67-75, 2005.

Researchers explore the likelihood and conditions of employment discrimination following TBI. Read abstract here.



 ‘I call it the blame and shame disease’: a qualitative study about perceptions of social stigma surrounding type 2 diabetes. Browne, J. L., Ventura, A., Mosely, K., & Speight, J. (2013). BMJ open, 3(11), e003384.

This qualitative study is the first to describe, in detail, the perceptions and experiences of diabetes-related stigma from the perspective of adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Read article here.



Stigma, shame, and blame experienced by patients with lung cancer: qualitative study. Chapple, A., Ziebland, S., & McPherson, A. (2004). BMJ, 328(7454), 1470.

Narrative interviews with patients with lung cancer are used to explore their perceptions of and experiences with stigma. Read article here.


Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

Attitudes about sexual disclosure and perceptions of stigma and shame. Cunningham, S. D., Tschann, J., Gurvey, J. E., Fortenberry, J. D., & Ellen, J. M. (2002). Sexually transmitted infections, 78(5), 334-338.

The authors studied the association between the stigma of having a sexually transmitted disease and adolescents’ past STD related health care; between stigma, shame, and perceptions about disclosure of sexual behaviors to a doctor or nurse; and whether the association of stigma, shame, and care seeking was moderated by perceptions about disclosure. Read article here.



Examining the relationships of depressive symptoms, stigma, social support and regimen-specific support on quality of life in adult patients with epilepsy. Whatley, A. D., DiIorio, C. K. & Yeager, K. (2010). Health education research, 25(4), 575-584.

Research findings show that people with epilepsy face many challenges that can negatively affect quality of life (QOL). This study examines the individual relationships between depressive symptoms, stigma, social support and regimen-specific support and QOL in adults with epilepsy. Read article here.



The stigma of migraine. Young, W. B., Park, J. E., Tian, I. X., & Kempner, J. (2013). PLoS ONE, 8(1), e54074.

Although many claim that migraine is stigmatizing, to date there has been only one study on stigma in people with migraine. This study measures how much stigma migraine patients experience in comparison to epilepsy patients – a group that has been studied extensively. Read article here.


Eating Disorders

Stigmatizing attitudes towards individuals with anorexia nervosa: an investigation of attribution theory. Zwickert, K., & Rieger, E. (2013). Journal of Eating Disorders, 1(1), 5.

This study contributes to the small body of research examining stigmatizing attitudes held towards individuals with Anorexia Nervosa. Evidence suggests that these attitudes may be even stronger than those held towards obese individuals. Read article here.