The Factorial Structure of Stigma and Its Targets

Megan Oaten, Richard J. Stevenson, Stefano Occhipinti, Caley Tapp, Trevor I. Case

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


We aimed to determine (1) the attributes of multiple stigmatized populations, (2) whether Kurzban and Leary s (2001) functional typology of stigma emerges and identifies the dimensions upon which each stigma type differs, and (3) the emotional responses toward emergent stigma types. Participants (N = 2,674) were assigned to 1/52 stigma target conditions and their attitudes surveyed. Data were analyzed by multilevel factor analysis with stigma targets at Level 2. There were five within-factors at Level 1 (social competence, interpersonal access, social inclusion, immorality, perceived permanence) and three between-factors at Level 2 (interpersonal stigmatization, morality-based stigmatization, chronic stigmatization). Interpersonal stigmatization was predicted by disgust and pity, and morality-based stigmatization was predicted by disgust and [-]happiness, with no predictors for chronic stigmatization. These results support a functional typology of stigma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-106
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • disease avoidance
  • disgust
  • morality
  • stigma
  • stigmatization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Psychology


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