Promoting the "social" in the examination of social stigmas

Pers Soc Psychol Rev. 2005;9(2):156-82. doi: 10.1207/s15327957pspr0902_4.


This review highlights the value of empirical investigations examining actual interactions that occur between stigmatizers and targets, and is intended to stimulate and help guide research of this type. We identify trends in the literature demonstrating that research studying ongoing interactions between stigmatizers and targets is relatively less common than in the past. Interactive studies are challenging, complex, and have variables that are sometimes more difficult to control; yet, they offer unique insights and significant contributions to understanding stigma-related phenomena that may not be offered in other (e.g., self-report) paradigms. This article presents a conceptual and empirical overview of stigma research, delineates the unique contributions that have been made by conducting interactive studies, and proposes what can be further learned by conducting more of such research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Affect
  • Empirical Research
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Nonverbal Communication
  • Social Behavior*
  • Stereotyping*