Prejudice toward persons living with a fatal illness

Psychol Rep. 1995 Jun;76(3 Pt 2):1107-14. doi: 10.2466/pr0.1995.76.3c.1107.


Vignettes depicting a person living with a fictitious fatal illness were presented to 222 undergraduates. Manipulated variables in a completely randomized 3 x 2 x 2 factorial design were method of transmission of the illness (genetic/contagious/infectious), the population likely to become ill (anyone/primarily marginal persons), and the amount of suffering (little/much). Subjects reported on perceptions of ease of transmission of the illness, danger of contact with the ill person, blame, support of sanction, and social distance. Multivariate analysis of covariance showed that the manipulated variables affected the dependent variables considered together. Greatest prejudice was shown toward persons suffering greatly from an infectious illness that affected primarily marginal persons. Results are discussed relative to HIV.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / psychology
  • Adult
  • Communicable Diseases / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prejudice*
  • Psychological Distance
  • Sick Role*
  • Terminal Care / psychology*