Stigma Cues Increase Self-Conscious Emotions and Decrease Likelihood of Attention to Information about Preventing Stigmatized Health Issues

Allison Earl, Christina A Nisson, Dolores Albarracín

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Health communications are only effective if target audiences actually receive the messages. One potential barrier to effective health communication is the potential stigma of attending to health information, particularly for stigmatizing health issues. The purpose of the present paper was to examine when participants report self-conscious emotions (e.g., shame, embarrassment) in response to health communications, as well as likelihood of reading health information associated with these emotions. Across three studies, participants read information about preventing diseases that are either highly stigmatized or non-stigmatized. Increased accessibility of stigma cues by (a) manipulating the perceived absence vs. presence of others, or (b) measuring lower vs. higher rejection sensitivity resulted in increased self-conscious emotions in response to information about stigmatized health issues. In addition, stigma cues decreased the likelihood of reading information about stigmatized (but not non-stigmatized) health information. Implications for health outcomes and intervention design are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1860-1871
Number of pages12
JournalActa de investigacion psicologica
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2015

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