Chinese and American employers' perspectives regarding hiring people with behaviorally driven health conditions: The role of stigma

Patrick W. Corrigan, Wing Hong Hector Tsang, Kan Shi, Chow S. Lam, Jon Larson

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Work opportunities for people with behaviorally driven health conditions such as HIV/AIDS, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and psychosis are directly impacted by employer perspectives. To investigate this issue, we report findings from a mixed method design involving qualitative interviews followed by a quantitative survey of employers from Chicago (U.S.), Beijing (China), and Hong Kong (China). Findings from qualitative interviews of 100 employers were used to create 27 items measuring employer perspectives (the Employer Perspective Scale: EPS) about hiring people with health conditions. These perspectives reflect reasons for or against discrimination. In the quantitative phase of the study, representative samples of approximately 300 employers per city were administered the EPS in addition to measures of stigma, including attributions about disease onset and offset. The EPS and stigma scales were completed in the context of one of five randomly assigned health conditions. We weighted data with ratios of key demographics between the sample and the corresponding employer population data. Analyses showed that both onset and offset responsibility varied by behaviorally driven condition. Analyses also showed that employer perspectives were more negative for health conditions that are seen as more behaviorally driven, e.g., drug and alcohol abuse. Chicago employers endorsed onset and offset attributions less strongly compared to those in Hong Kong and Beijing. Chicago employers also recognized more benefits of hiring people with various health conditions. The implications of these findings for better understanding stigma and stigma change among employers are considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2162-2169
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010


  • China
  • Culture
  • Discrimination
  • Employers
  • Employment
  • Responsibility
  • Stigma
  • USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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