HIV-related stigma and psychological distress: the harmful effects of specific stigma manifestations in various social settings
ABSTRACT Recent research has shown that experiences of stigmatization have an adverse impact on the psychological well being of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Most studies investigating this relationship employ an aggregate measure of stigma. Although this approach provides useful information about the psychological implications of HIV-related stigma in general, it neglects to acknowledge the possibility that some manifestations in specific settings may be psychologically more detrimental than others. The present study examines which specific stigma experiences are most strongly related to psychological distress across a number of social settings.
A cross-sectional survey was administered to 667 PLWHA in the Netherlands. We examined participants' experiences of 11 manifestations of HIV-related stigma in six social settings. Linear regression analyses were conducted to determine which setting-specific manifestations best predict psychological distress after controlling for marital status, education and health status.
Three manifestations in family settings, namely receiving advice to conceal one's status, being avoided and being treated with exaggerated kindness, and one manifestation in healthcare settings, namely awkward social interaction, best predicted psychological distress in PLWHA.
Manifestations of HIV-related stigma vary according to setting. Certain manifestations in specific social settings impact the psychological well being of PLWHA more than others. In this study, certain experiences of stigmatization with PLWHA's families and in healthcare settings were more strongly related to psychological distress than experiences occurring in other social settings. These findings suggest that stigma reduction interventions focusing on these influential settings may benefit the psychological well being of PLWHA.
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ABSTRACT: This qualitative study highlights the social dynamics affecting people living with HIV (PLH) in Hungary and in the Central-Eastern European region. The study focused on the special needs and concerns of men living with HIV/AIDS as well as changes in their social relationships and institutional support provision, coping strategies and patterns of social functioning, especially in the context of social stigmatization. Consistent with international qualitative research findings in the field of HIV/AIDS prevention, the present study contributes to a fuller understanding of relationship between sexual behavior, HIV/AIDS related risks and risk perceptions as well as homosexuality-and HIV/AIDS stigma-related social exclusion in a previously under-researched socio-cultural setting. The findings of our study point to several barriers to effective HIV prevention, which should be overcome to improve the present situation by lessening the adverse effects of HIV/AIDS-and homosexuality-related stigma within the gay community, the general population and especially among service providers. One of the main barriers is the lack of public health programs specifically targeting MSM in Hungary, where the predominant mode of HIV transmission remains sex between men.Sexuality Research and Social Policy Journal of NSRC 03/2013; 10(1):24-34. DOI:10.1007/s13178-012-0102-5
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ABSTRACT: It has been 50 years since the publication of Goffman’s influential work Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity. This special issue celebrates Goffman’s contribution with 14 articles reflecting the current state of the art in stigma research. In this article, we provide a theoretical overview of the stigma concept and offer a useful taxonomy of four types of stigma (public stigma, self-stigma, stigma by association, and structural stigma). We utilize this taxonomy to organize an overview of the articles included in this special issue. Finally, we outline new developments and challenges in stigma research for the coming decades.Basic and Applied Social Psychology 02/2013; 35(1):1-9. DOI:10.1080/01973533.2012.746147 · 1.09 Impact Factor