Stigma, Prejudice, Discrimination and Health

In September 2006, the Health & Society Scholars Working Group on Stigma, Prejudice, Discrimination and Health brought together social and health science researchers working in the areas of stigmatization and prejudice. One result of this meeting was a special issue of the journal Social Science & Medicine.

This article serves as the introduction to the special issue. It presents relevant themes in the study of stigma, prejudice, discrimination and health. The introduction also describes the various articles that comprised the special issue and how they addressed the themes of interest.

Key Findings:                       

  • Articles in the special issue address the pathways by which stigma and prejudice impact health. These pathways include stress processes, structural manifestations of stigma, unconscious prejudice, stigma and prejudice internalization, and vigilance expressed by individuals in preparation for negative experiences.
  • Bridging research traditions in the areas of stigma and prejudice could facilitate progress on the pathways by which stigma and prejudice impact health.
  • Articles in the special issue highlight structural, cultural and policy factors related to stigma and prejudice. They also present new strategies and points of intervention for mitigating the impact of stigma and prejudice on health.

The articles reviewed in the introduction to the issue attest to the important work being done on the links between stigma, prejudice, discrimination and health.