The dimensions of stigma: The social situation of the mentally ill person and the male homosexual

Stephen Pollack*, Deborah Huntley, Jon G. Allen, Steven Schwartz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Conducted 2 studies to test the assumptions that stigmatizing labels not only lead observers to perceive more deviance but also lead the labeled individual to behave more deviantly. Study 1 employed videotape, varying the amount of actual deviance and the mental-illness labeling of the target. Since the 80 female undergraduate Ss were forced to attend to actual behaviors, perhaps that is why labeling did not affect perceptions of deviance or attitudes toward the target. In Study 2, 40 members of a gay liberation organization were led to believe that their sexual orientation had been disclosed to an examiner. A battery of tests including Rotter's Incomplete Sentences Blank, Wechsler Memory Scale, and Nowlis Mood Adjective Check List were used in both studies. Belief that they had been labeled did affect Ss' cognitive performance, but it had no disruptive interpersonal effects. Findings highlight the need for more specificity in describing the effects of stigmatizing labels. (27 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-112
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1976
Externally publishedYes


  • disabled individuals' self perception
  • gay liberation members
  • homosexuals' cognitive performance
  • interpersonal effects, female college students
  • sexual orientation, perceptions of deviance
  • stigmatizing labels of mental illness


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