The impact of stigma in healthcare on people living with chronic illnesses

J Health Psychol. 2012 Mar;17(2):157-68. doi: 10.1177/1359105311414952. Epub 2011 Jul 28.


Approximately half of adults are living with a chronic illness, many of whom may feel stigmatized by their chronic illness in different contexts. We explored the impact of internalized, experienced, and anticipated stigma within healthcare settings on the quality of life of 184 participants living with chronic illnesses (e.g. diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma). Results of a path analysis demonstrate that participants who internalized stigma and experienced stigma from healthcare workers anticipated greater stigma from healthcare workers. Participants who anticipated greater stigma from healthcare workers, in turn, accessed healthcare less and experienced a decreased quality of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Chronic Disease / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Quality of Life
  • Stereotyping*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult