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.

Download full-text


Available from: John Pachankis, Mar 01, 2014
  • Source
    • "Alessi, Meyer, and Martin (2013) found that non-life-threatening traumatic events can still produce symptoms of PTSD and concluded that adherence to the DSM definition results in many PTSD-like disorders being missed. Therefore, although the present research did evaluate symptoms of PTSD in relation to participants' most stressful life experience, we did not assess DSM criterion A. Fears of negative evaluation are core cognitions of social phobia, and 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). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2016
  • Source
    • "Research also supports the idea that non-minority groups experience more negative effects from stigma compared to minority groups because solely having a concealable stigmatized identity is thought to cause more distress in people than having an obvious identity, or both an obvious and concealable identity causes (Frable et al. 1998). Specifically, people with concealable identities (i.e., mental illness, criminal record) must manage the anxiety of whether to disclose their identity to others, a decision that must be made in various contexts, some of which could seriously impact life opportunities (Quinn 2006;Pachankis 2007). Caucasian inmates who anticipate a great deal of stigma may be especially at risk for difficulties adjusting to the community after release, as decisions about disclosure of their criminal record may inhibit them more than African-American inmates from engaging in their community. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Research has rarely considered criminal offenders’ psychological responses to stigma, but these responses may significantly influence behavior after release from jail/prison. Jail inmates’ perceived and anticipated stigma was assessed prior to release from jail/prison (N = 163), and outcomes were assessed one year post-release (N = 371). We hypothesized that perceived stigma would predict poor adjustment in several domains (i.e., recidivism, substance dependence, mental health symptoms, community adjustment) through anticipated stigma. Results showed that perceived stigma predicted worse community adjustment through anticipated stigma, and this varied by race. Results are explored from an interdisciplinary perspective.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2016 · Deviant Behavior
  • Source
    • "Public stigma impacts the self in three ways; enacted stigma which is the destructive handling of an individual having stigmatized condition; felt stigma which is the knowledge of anticipated stigmatization on the part of the individual with a stigmatized condition and though internalized stigma which is the lessening of self-worth and associated psychological agony experienced by CWHA condition (Herek,[15]. Apprehensions regarding who to tell and the distress of being discovered are substantial sources of psychological anguish among children who hide their HIV/AIDS status Panchankis[16]for instance children who could possibly organized as a result where as those who disclose their HIV/AIDS conditions do not undergo through nervousness their attempt to disclose their concerns they still must withstand the probability of continually being humiliated in the eyes of the teachers and their schoolmates without HIV/AIDS[17]. Herek, Saha and Burack[18]carried a study to establish how felt and self-stigma impact on the psychological wellbeing of CWHA. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Childrens Act 2001 and the Kenyan constitution emphasize on the right to free and compulsory basic education for all school age children. However, orphaned and vulnerable children have always remained on the receiving end as they are limited in the participation in learning due to their status, which include HIV/AIDS. Achievement and participation of children with HIV/AIDS (CWHA) has been impaired by stigma and discrimination (S&D) among CWHA manifest in ways such as isolation in the sitting arrangement and rejection during play activities. CHWA suffered S&D in form of name-calling like kahurura, and physical abuse through beating and over punishment which negatively impair participation in learning activities. S&D impede sustainability and achievement of CWHA in the school systems that eventually drop out of school or continuously perform poor and gain nothing out of the years they spend in school. This study aimed at establishing the effects of S&D on the right to education of CWHA aged 4-8 years. The target population included 680 HIV/AIDS orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), 120 pre-school teachers, 240 caregivers and 34 administrators of civil society organizations (CSOS). A sample of 68 OVCs, 4 CSOs, 12 teachers, and 24 caregivers were randomly selected and a survey design was used. Data was collected through questionnaires, interview schedules, storytelling sessions and observation schedules. The study established that CWHA were isolated in the sitting arrangement and separation of items and during class activities. In schools where there is no isolation children integrate and learn smoothly. Rejection was profound during play and group activities among CWHA. Further the study found out that CWHA were neglected by relatives, peers, community and the teacher. This was manifested through being left to work and meet their basic needs. HIV/AIDS orphans lack basic needs which lead to withdrawal and self-pity and eventually poor performance or dropping out of school. The findings revealed that CWHA who stayed with relatives suffered physical abuse by being over punished through physical beating and over working. From the study it was evident that CWHA suffered from name calling and labelling which led to low self-esteem, withdrawal in turn barring sustainability of integration of CWHA in the school system. The study recommended creating conducive environment that will make the society to appreciate and support CWHA. Policies should be put in place to enhance access to education by CWHA without discrimination.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education
Show more