Sociology, social structure and health-related stigma

Psychol Health Med. 2006 Aug;11(3):288-95. doi: 10.1080/13548500600595103.


There is a long and cross-disciplinary tradition of analysing chronic and disabling illness in terms of relations of stigma. The present paper offers a sociological approach which emphasizes: (a) the causal importance of social structures for grasping stigma relations; (b) the importance of understanding stigma relations in the context of wider societal change; and (c) the ways in which relations of stigma typically interact with other relations, such as those of class and command. It is suggested that consideration of specific and often condition-related strategies to reduce stigma might profitably be set in such a context.

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Disabled Persons*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Prejudice*
  • Social Conditions*
  • Sociology*