Stigma and population health

Stigma is increasingly recognized as a fundamental cause of population health disparities. The field of stigma research, however, has tended to investigate the health effects of only a few individual stigmas and has typically examined each stigma in isolation. The population-wide health impact across all stigmas is unknown. Furthermore, little is known about why some stigmas are associated with more stress exposure and poorer health outcomes than others and how varying features across stigmas might explain these disparities. Thus, our lab has sought to quantitatively and comprehensively evaluate the effects of stigma on health by drawing from a wide range of theoretical perspectives. For example, in a series of three studies, we examined the perceptions of 93 stigmatized identities/conditions along seven dimensions (e.g., origin, concealability), with the goal of linking quantitative ratings on each dimension to various physical and mental health outcomes among individuals living with these stigmas. Our analysis involves complex hierarchical modeling, and results are pending.


Hatzenbuehler, M. L., Bränström, R., & Pachankis, J. E. (in press). Societal-level explanations for reductions in sexual orientation mental health disparities: Results from a ten-year, population-based study in Sweden. Stigma and Health.

Hatzenbuehler, M. L., & Pachankis, J. E. (2016). Stigma and minority stress as social determinants of health among LGBT youth: Research evidence and clinical implications. Pediatric Clinics of North America. 63(6), 985-997.

Bränström, R., Hatzenbuehler, M. L., Pachankis, J. E., & Link, B. (2016). Sexual orientation disparities in preventable morbidity: A fundamental cause perspective.  American Journal of Public Health, 106, 1109-1115.

Bränström, R., Hatzenbuehler, M. L., & Pachankis, J. E. (2016). Sexual orientation disparities in physical health: Age and gender effects in a population-based sample. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 51 (2), 289 – 301.

White-Hughto, J. M., Reisner, S., & Pachankis, J. E. (2015). Stigma and transgender health: A critical review of stigma determinants, mechanisms, and interventions in U.S. transgender populations. Social Science & Medicine, 147, 222-231.