Stigma Prevention and Health

Megan McInnis

An MPH student explored how stigma and gender identity are correlated with mental health problems in India.

Stigma affects all people at some point in life. The Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences brings together faculty, researchers and students who are interested in understanding the social and psychological processes that keep marginalized individuals away from power, resources, status and ultimately good health.  We conduct research to understand how stigma affects the health of older adults (Levy), racial and ethnic minorities (CalabreseDovidio, and Keene), LGBT people (Pachankis), those people who reside in stigmatized locales (Keene), substance users (Wang), individuals with disabilities (Wang) and women globally (Miller). Our studies examine the impact of stigma on both physical health, including biological processes and mental health. Our research seeks to reduce stigma through interpersonal (e.g., improving patient-provider interactions), psychological (e.g., developing stigma inoculation approaches) and structural (e.g., changing international laws and policies) interventions. Across our research, we seek to uncover and ultimately improve the societal contexts that create stigma.