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On Revisiting Some Origins of the Stigma Concept as It Applies to Mental Illnesses

  • Bruce G. Link
  • Heather Stuart
Chapter

Abstract

It is difficult to imagine a more successful concept than that of stigma. Over the past six decades, it has enjoyed a meteoric rise, moving from an obscure term to one that is evident not only in academic work but in common parlance. It has been applied to a massive number of circumstances ranging from race and ethnic differences to incarceration, sexual minority status, psoriasis, incontinence, and many more. In these circumstances, it has been useful to describe and help explain the shame, social awkwardness, rejection, misunderstanding, and exclusion that people in these situations experience. The concept has been elaborated to help bring to light different aspects of this complex array of circumstances, and researchers have developed a large set of measures to assess those processes. It has been used by those who have felt the afflictions of stigma to identify the psychosocial processes involved and thereby to muster resistance to them. Among all of the circumstances that are stigmatized, one of the most prominent and most studied has been that of mental illness. This chapter provides a selective history of the origins and development of the stigma concept as it pertains to mental illnesses.

Keywords

Mental Illness Social Distance Mental Hospital Public Mental Health Social Psychological Experiment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EpidemiologyColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, Queen’s UniversityKingstonCanada
  3. 3.Department of Public Health SciencesMental Health Commission of CanadaOttawaCanada

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