Intervening within and across levels: A multilevel approach to stigma and public health

Jonathan E. Cook, Valerie Purdie-Vaughns, Ilan H. Meyer, Justin T.A. Busch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article uses a multilevel approach to review the literature on interventions with promise to reduce social stigma and its consequences for population health. Three levels of an ecological system are discussed. The intrapersonal level describes interventions directed at individuals, to either enhance coping strategies of people who belong to stigmatized groups or change attitudes and behaviors of the non-stigmatized. The interpersonal level describes interventions that target dyadic or small group interactions. The structural level describes interventions directed at the social-political environment, such as laws and policies. These intervention levels are related and they reciprocally affect one another. In this article we review the literature within each level. We suggest that interventions at any level have the potential to affect other levels of an ecological system through a process of mutually reinforcing reciprocal processes. We discuss research priorities, in particular longitudinal research that incorporates multiple outcomes across a system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-109
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume103
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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