• Presentation

The study of potentially stigmatizing conditions: An epidemiologic perspective


Reingold, A. L., & Krishnan, S. (2001, September). The study of potentially stigmatizing conditions: An epidemiologic perspective. Presented at Stigma and Global Health: Developing a Research Agenda, An International Conference, September 5-7, 2001, Bethesda, Maryland.


That various medical conditions or diseases and behaviors are stigmatizing within human society is attested to by numerous early written works, including the Bible. In the Old Testament, a skin disease commonly believed to have been leprosy is clearly portrayed as a divine punishment for moral lapses and as a cause for removal from society and social isolation. Some conditions, such as leprosy, appear to have been severely stigmatizing in virtually every known culture and time period for which evidence exists. Other conditions and behaviors, however, such as mental retardation and abuse of women, have almost certainly been met by widely varying degrees of approbation or acceptance in different cultures and at different times in the history of or by different strata of the same culture.