Layers of Stigma Among Adolescents: Developing a Comprehensive Measure


Most stigma measures are for a single characteristic, such as mental illness, or HIV/AIDS. This approach does not allow us to capture “layered” stigma (i.e., the compound effects of stigma from multiple stigmatized characteristics). We developed a general stigmatization measure that included items that tap three dimensions of stigma: enacted stigma (rejecting hostile behaviours targeted toward stigmatized people), perceived stigma (awareness you possess a stigmatized characteristic and others reject you), and internalized stigma (acceptance of the dominant groups’ negative judgments about you). We performed focus groups with potentially stigmatized youth as well as additional individual youth interviewees. The purpose was to make sure that wording was culturally and developmentally-appropriate, and to identify ways of expressing enacted stigma not previously identified in the literature.


Principal Investigators: Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc

Co-Investigators: Christopher Drozda, David Ki, Dr. Chiaki Konishi, Dr. Cheryl Kaiser, Dr. Jennifer Lloyd, Dr. Scott Carlson, Jennifer Matthews, and Suzanne Clarke

Funded by BC Mental Health & Addictions (Research Network Seed Grant), 2009