Study analyzes whether, and why, prejudice against HIV-positive manifests in communities
A new study of individuals who test positive for HIV finds that sufferers of the chronic disease may experience subtle prejudice in their communities. Master's in Social Work students who study the needs of similar marginalized groups may have interest in the findings.
Researchers at the University of Vermont, led by scientist Carol Miller, surveyed 203 individuals who had been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. They reviewed the participants' perception of the "enacted stigma" in their communities, in which they disclosed their disease and were actively marginalized. The participants were also asked about their "disclosure concerns" as well, or their worries about news of their disease being spread.
Many of the HIV-positive experienced very little blatant discrimination. However, a large number often chose to avoid revealing their disease.
The reason, the researchers found, was the level of internal and external motivation for suppressing prejudice in the community at large. Adults who lived in the same area as participants were asked about their feelings towards those with HIV.
By definition, internally motivated individuals value tolerance. Externally motivated individuals avoid exhibiting prejudice because they are socially motivated, and more fearful of being politically incorrect than about their bias. The HIV-positive felt the most need for secrecy in the communities where the general populace felt little pressure to hide their prejudices.
Miller notes that pressuring individuals to avoid showing prejudice can actually result in bias that "leak[s] out."
POSTED BY: ec_admin - March 8th, 2011 at 03:51pm ( 0 )