STIGMA MANAGEMENT IN NORMAL-STIGMATIZED INTERACTIONS: TEST OF THE DISCLOSURE HYPOTHESIS AND A MODEL OF STIGMA ACCEPTANCE

Authors

  • TERESA L. THOMPSON,

    1. Teresa L. Thompson (M.A., Purdue University, 1976) is a doctoral student in the Department of Speech at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122.
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  • DAVID R. SEIBOLD

    1. David R. Seibold (Ph.D., Michigan State University, 1975) is assistant professor in the Department of Speech Communication at the University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 61801.
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  • This study accepted for publication September 19, 1977.

Abstract

This study explored the efficacy of disclosure as a stigma management strategy in normal-stigmatized interactions. A laboratory experiment was conducted using confederates to simulate three classes of stigmas. As predicted, reactions of normals (nonstigmatized subjects) were uniform across stigmas. While there is some indication that disclosure may reduce uncertainty in normal-stigmatized interactions, no support obtained for the hypothesis that disclosure about a stigma increases acceptance of the bearer. Path analysis of the data indicated a process leading from uncertainty, tension, and attraction to acceptance/rejection, as expected. Findings are discussed in terms of stigma attributions and relational development.

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