Challenging stereotypes and changing attitudes: Improving quality of care for people with hepatitis C through Positive Speakers programs

Loren Brener*, Hannah Wilson, Grenville Rose, Althea MacKenzie, John De Wit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Positive Speakers programs consist of people who are trained to speak publicly about their illness. The focus of these programs, especially with stigmatised illnesses such as hepatitis C (HCV), is to inform others of the speakers' experiences, thereby humanising the illness and reducing ignorance associated with the disease. This qualitative research aimed to understand the perceived impact of Positive Speakers programs on changing audience members' attitudes towards people with HCV. Interviews were conducted with nine Positive Speakers and 16 of their audience members to assess the way in which these sessions were perceived by both speakers and the audience to challenge stereotypes and stigma associated with HCV and promote positive attitude change amongst the audience. Data were analysed using Intergroup Contact Theory to frame the analysis with a focus on whether the program met the optimal conditions to promote attitude change. Findings suggest that there are a number of vital components to this Positive Speakers program which ensures that the program meets the requirements for successful and equitable intergroup contact. This Positive Speakers program thereby helps to deconstruct stereotypes about people with HCV, while simultaneously increasing positive attitudes among audience members with the ultimate aim of improving quality of health care and treatment for people with HCV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-249
Number of pages8
JournalPsychology, Health and Medicine
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • hepatitis C
  • positive speaker programs
  • public health
  • stereotypes
  • stigma

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