Theconcept of stigma has evolved over time and is considered asignificant aspect in most of the chronic illnesses, as well asdisabilities. According to Bartholomew (2016), stigma is a Greek termthat in its origins refers to a form of mark that is cut or burnedinto the skin. Since the idea is socially constructed, it tends tovary from one setting to another. Thus, the term stigma is exposed todifferent definitions. One of the definitions of the term has beencoined by Merriam Webster. According to Webster’s definition,stigma is viewed a mark of shame or discredit, or a mark of guilt ordisgrace (Cronin & Mandich, 2015).
Stigmamay also be considered by another definition, where it is viewed as abelief and attitude that leads individuals to reject, fear, or avoidthose they deem as being different. According to Liamputtong (2013),Goffman indicated that, this definition needs a significantqualification, one which sees stigma in terms of a linguisticaffiliation that can associate traits to certain stereotypes, insteadof a priori objectified characteristics (Liamputtong, 2013).Liamputtong (2013) also argues that stigma has been defined by Linkand Phelan in terms of the existence and merging of four relatedcomponents. First, individuals decide and tend to label humanvariances. Second, constituents of the principal cultural groupassociate labeled individuals with particular detrimentalcharacteristics. Third, adversely labeled individuals or groups areplaced in discrete and isolated groupings from the non-stigmatized.Fourth, emanating from the first three modules, labeled people tendto experience loss of status. An individual’s identity may includeprofessional roles, physical activities, and the self. Anything thatchanges one of these identities such as disability is deemed tochange the identity of a person, and thus creates a stigma (Cronin &Mandich, 2015).
Bartholomew,E. L. K. (2016). Planninghealth promotion programs: An intervention mapping approach.San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass & Pfeiffer Imprints, Wiley.
Cronin,A., & Mandich, M. B. (2015). Humandevelopment and performance throughout the life span.Boston, MA : Cengage Learning.
Liamputtong,P. (2013). Stigma,discrimination and living with HIV/AIDS: A cross-culturalperspective.Dordrecht: Springer.