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Abstract

Being a member of a group that is stigmatized (i.e., low status, devalued, negatively stereotyped, and victimized by prejudice and discrimination) can affect health. In this paper, I consider threats to the social self as a mediator in the relationship between stigmatizing experiences and health. I discuss experiences associated with stigmatization that can pose a potential threat to the sense of self and how each of these aspects of stigma relates to health. Our current knowledge is heavily centered on how discrimination experiences relate to health. More research is needed on how other aspects of stigma affect health. In addition, research addressing coping strategies, and especially how they influence health behaviors, will be useful in gaining a better understanding of the mechanisms through which stigma affects health.