Keeping Secrets or Educating Others: A Dyadic Analysis of Group Entitativity’s Influence on Spouses’ Label Management Connected to AATD

Rachel Annette Smith, Roxanne L. Parrott, Sara E. Wienke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

In 1963, Goffman argued that forming a group based on shared stigma may provide benefits. However, there is no empirical research on whether perception that a separate, unique, coherent group exists (i.e., group entitativity) influences coping, such as educating others or secrecy, for the stigmatized individual or his or her spouse. Further, little is known about how spouses influence each other in terms of promoting the education of others about a stigmatizing condition, especially when it comes to the role of believing that stigma-based groups, to which they may both belong, exist. This study provides a step toward bridging this gap in the research by applying the label management model in efforts to understand coping for couples in which one spouse is diagnosed with genetic mutations leading to alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD). This study included 50 married couples in which one spouse is diagnosed with genetic mutations leading to alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD). We found that group entitativity related to those with AATD counterbalanced the influence of genetic stigma on spouses’ intentions to keep the diagnosis secret or to educate others about it. Intrapersonal and interpersonal influences appeared among spouses. Attention is needed on the power of creating groups for stigmatized persons and their relatives. Indeed, people live within a dynamic world of group entities, and multiple social identities including spousal and familial. While attention has been paid to the diffusion of stigmas to loved ones, less has been paid to the uplift of group entities for them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-160
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Communication
Volume31
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2016

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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