Social Disparities and Health (C2S) Workshop:
Structural-Stigma and Sexual-Orientation Health Disparities: Research Evidence and Future Directions
Presented by Mark Hatzenbuehler, PhD
Psychological research has made significant advancements in the study of stigma but has tended to focus almost exclusively on individual and interpersonal stigma processes. To address this knowledge gap, researchers have expanded the stigma construct to consider how broader, macrosocial forms of stigma—what we call structural stigma—also disadvantage stigmatized individuals. In this talk, Hatzenbuehler will define the construct of structural stigma and describe how it differs from stigma at the individual and interpersonal levels. He will then review cross-sectional, longitudinal, quasi-experimental, and laboratory studies from his research group that document the health consequences of exposure to structural stigma. These studies demonstrate that structural stigma has robust health consequences, ranging from dysregulated physiological responses in the laboratory to premature mortality at a population level. The talk will end with a discussion of future directions for structural stigma research, as well as implications of this work for reducing health inequalities.