Social Stigma Definition and Examples

What is a social stigma definition? What is social stigmatization?

social stigma definition - social stigma examples

Social stigma definition psychology

Social stigma meaning: The word “stigma” is derived from the Greek and originally described as a form of tattoo or marking that was burned or cut into the skin of enslaved people, criminals, or traitors to identify them as morally depraved individuals. These individuals were to be avoided or rejected, particularly in public places.

Social stigma is the extreme dislike or dissatisfaction with a person or group based on how they are seen to be different from others in society. Then, a stigma may be put on that person by the rest of the community if they are different from their cultural norms.

The characteristics of social stigma sometimes change depending on the geopolitical contexts and corresponding sociopolitical contexts used by society in various regions of the world.

Social stigma can come from how people think about physical disabilities, mental illness, diseases like leprosy, sexual orientation, illegitimacy, gender identity, skin tone, nationality, religion, ethnicity, ideology, education, or criminality. Many people who have been stigmatized feel like they are changing from a whole person to a tainted one.

Social stigma examples

There are three types of social stigma:

Tribal stigma

Tribal stigma definition is traits of an ethnic group, a nationality, or a religion that are seen as different from the majority ethnicity, nationality, or religion. These traits can be real or imagined. Tribal stigma is associated with a country, religion, or race different from the norm, like being African American or of Arab descent in the U.S. after the 9/11 attacks.

Deviations in personal traits

This includes mental illness, drug addiction, alcoholism, and a criminal past.

Overt or external deformations

Overt or external deformations, like scars, physical signs of anorexia nervosa or leprosy stigma, or a social or physical disability, like obesity. For example, overweight women’s parents are less likely to pay for college than average-weight women’s parents.

social stigma examples - social stigmatism definition

What causes social stigma

  • Putting a label on someone with a condition.
  • Creating stereotypes about those with that condition.
  • Dividing people into “we” and “them.”
  • Labeling persons with a negative connotation.

The social stigma surrounding mental illnesses and disorders

What is a social stigma in mental health? Empirical studies on social stigma related to mental disorders pointed to an unexpected public attitude. Those who were told mental disorders had a genetic foundation were more likely to increase their social distance from the mentally ill and assume they were dangerous, compared to those who were told the illnesses could be explained by social and environmental causes.

Also, people who knew the cause was genetic were more likely to blame the whole family of the sick person.

Stigmatized people face social isolation, rejection, insult, and humiliation. They face criticism, abuse, and even murder. Whether or not others can see it, those who identify with a stigmatized group often suffer from psychological distress, and many have a negative opinion of themselves.

social stigmatism - stigma sociology definition

I hope you can understand about social stigma definition and examples.