Paper on public stigma toward female and male opium and heroin users

In this new paper, my colleagues and I present an experiments using a factorial survey design involving women and men in Iran. Based on Attribution Theory, this experiment investigates factors affecting gender-specific stigmatization in the context of drug addiction including signals and signaling events regarding a person with drug addiction. We test how these factors affect stigmatizing cognitions (e.g., blameworthiness), affective responses (e.g., anger), and discriminatory inclinations (e.g., segregation) and also tested assumptions from the Familiarity Hypothesis by assessing indicators of respondents' familiarity with drug addiction. Results, for example, show higher stigma if the person used “harder” drugs, displayed aggressive behavior, or had a less controllable drug urge. Self-attributed knowledge about addiction or prior drug use increased some forms of stigma, but diminished others. These findings only partially converged between men and women. We suggest that anti-stigma initiatives should consider information about the stigmatized person, conditions of the addiction, and characteristics of stigmatizers. [Link to the paper]