Stigma is one of the most significant—and least understood—barriers to health promotion and disease prevention around the globe. Communication and stigma are dynamically connected in many ways and across multiple levels of social life. This chapter reviews the fundamental processes by which stigma, communication, and health are inextricably and consequentially intertwined. We start with a brief discussion on the toll that stigma takes on people’s health, relational well-being, and social equality, and we introduce a glossary of conceptual terms in the stigma landscape. Then we review theoretical advancements and empirical evidence associated with (a) creating, (b) enacting, (c) coping, and (d) eliminating health-related stigmas. The extant scholarship reveals the message features and underlying psychological mechanisms that create (social) stigmas, how many communication tactics are used to enact and resist stigmatization, and how difficult it is to cope with stigma-related shame and to eliminate stigmas once they have diffused. We conclude the chapter by highlighting directions for future research.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Sciences(all)