Stacey L. Williams, Department of Psychology, East Tennessee State University; Kristin D. Mickelson, Department of Psychology, Kent State University.
A paradox of support seeking and rejection among the stigmatized
Article first published online: 3 DEC 2008
© 2008 IARR
Volume 15, Issue 4, pages 493–509, December 2008
How to Cite
WILLIAMS, S. L. and MICKELSON, K. D. (2008), A paradox of support seeking and rejection among the stigmatized. Personal Relationships, 15: 493–509. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6811.2008.00212.x
We thank Dr. Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton for his comments on an early draft. Study 2 was supported by Geis Memorial Dissertation funds awarded to the first author by Division 35 of the American Psychological Association.
- Issue published online: 3 DEC 2008
- Article first published online: 3 DEC 2008
Individuals perceiving stigma may be unwilling to seek support directly. Instead, they may use indirect strategies due to fear of rejection. Ironically, indirect seeking leads to unsupportive network responses (i.e., rejection). In Study 1, data collected from structured interviews of a sample of U.S. women in poverty (N= 116) showed that perceived poverty-related stigma was related to increased fear of rejection, which in turn partially mediated perceived stigma and indirect seeking. In Study 2, data gathered from structured interviews of a sample of U.S. abused women (N= 177) revealed that perceived abuse-related stigma was linked to increased indirect seeking, which in turn related to increased unsupportive network responses. By contrast, direct support seeking was related to increased supportive and decreased unsupportive responses.