The psychological implications of concealing a stigma: A cognitive-affective-behavioral model [Electronic version]

Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University, State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA.
Psychological Bulletin (Impact Factor: 14.76). 04/2007; 133(2):328-45. DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.133.2.328
Source: PubMed


Many assume that individuals with a hidden stigma escape the difficulties faced by individuals with a visible stigma. However, recent research has shown that individuals with a concealable stigma also face considerable stressors and psychological challenges. The ambiguity of social situations combined with the threat of potential discovery makes possessing a concealable stigma a difficult predicament for many individuals. The increasing amount of research on concealable stigmas necessitates a cohesive model for integrating relevant findings. This article offers a cognitive-affective-behavioral process model for understanding the psychological implications of concealing a stigma. It ends with discussion of potential points of intervention in the model as well as potential future routes for investigation of the model.

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Available from: John Pachankis, Mar 01, 2014
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    • "g . , Ragins 2008 ; Pachankis 2007 ; Olney and Brockelman 2003 ; Smart and Wegner 2000 ) . Students with documented criminal records often face the dilemma of whether to disclose or conceal their stigmatized identities , particularly when disclosing is essential for building trusting relationships . "
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    ABSTRACT: There is an abundance of social science research confirming the positive outcomes associated with higher education for people who have served time in prison (Chappell, 2004; Fine at al, 2001; Kelso, 2000). Despite the evidence, institutions of higher education continue to ignore the findings, while reinforcing negative stigma and imposing institutional barriers to admission for students with documented criminal records (Rosenthal et al., 2015). After analyzing focus groups and interviews from a participatory action research (PAR) project with college students with documented criminal records, we identified a series of themes, which we have labeled gifts (McKnight & Block, 2010; Halkovic et al., 2013) students with criminal histories bring to their academic communities. These gifts include: deconstructing stigma/teaching the university; the desire to do more and give back; intimate knowledge of how systems work on the ground, and bridging relationships between the academy and underserved communities. Our evidence suggests that students with incarceration experience enhance the academic and civic environment of universities, dispelling the spurious suggestion that they are a risk to campus safety (Drysdale, Modzeleski, & Simons, 2010). We conclude with specific recommendations institutions of higher education (IHEs) should follow to foster greater inclusion in college communities.
    The Urban Review 11/2015; 47(4). DOI:10.1007/s11256-015-0333-x
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    • "considering the societal stigma surrounding minority sexual orientation, it is easy to understand why a sexual minority person may hide a core aspect of himself in order to avoid negative evaluation and rejection (Pachankis, 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: Sexual minorities face greater exposure to discrimination and rejection than heterosexuals. Given these threats, sexual minorities may engage in sexual orientation concealment in order to avoid danger. This social stigma and minority stress place sexual minorities at risk for anxiety and related disorders. Given that three fourths of anxiety disorder onset occurs before the age of 24, the current study investigated the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and depression in sexual minority young adults relative to their heterosexual peers. Secondarily, the study investigated sexual orientation concealment as a predictor of anxiety and related disorders. A sample of 157 sexual minority and 157 heterosexual young adults matched on age and gender completed self-report measures of the aforementioned disorders, and indicated their level of sexual orientation concealment. Results revealed that sexual minority young adults reported greater symptoms relative to heterosexuals across all outcome measures. There were no interactions between sexual minority status and gender, however, women had higher symptoms across all disorders. Sexual minority young women appeared to be at the most risk for clinical levels of anxiety and related disorders. In addition, concealment of sexual orientation significantly predicted symptoms of social phobia. Implications are offered for the cognitive and behavioral treatment of anxiety and related disorders in this population.
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    • "were less likely to have gay friends, to be in relationships, and to seek some forms of support. Other studies have also found that concealment of one's sexual orientation is linked with poorer mental health (Pachankis, 2007 "
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