Understanding and Changing Behaviors Toward Stigmatized Diseases

Linyun Yang, Duke University, USA
Mary Frances Luce, Duke University, USA
Perceived stigma often prevents many individuals from seeking treatment for serious health problems, such as STDs and psychiatric disorders. The stereotyping literature suggests that stigma can be ameliorated by introducing a positive exemplar, but only if people include that individual into the stigmatized group. We find that people’s preexisting attitudes toward seeking treatment determine how they will be affected by inclusion of a positive exemplar. Increased treatment seeking occurs when individuals with preexisting negative attitudes include the exemplar; however, this relationship reverses for individuals with preexisting positive attitudes who are actually less motivated to seek treatment when stigma is decreased.
[ to cite ]:
Linyun Yang and Mary Frances Luce (2009) ,"Understanding and Changing Behaviors Toward Stigmatized Diseases", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 895-895.