Online Program

A Systematic Review of use and measurement of stigma in empirical behavioral-social science research among men who have sex with men (MSM)

Monday, November 2, 2015

David Manning, Department of Behavioral & Social Sciences, Brown University School of Public Health, Providence, RI
Jacob van den Berg, Division of Infectious Diseases, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI
Don Operario, PhD, Lifespan/Tufts/Brown Center for AIDS Research, Brown University, School of Public Health, Providence, RI
background: There is substantial evidence showing the negative impact of stigma among minority populations. Since Goffman’s stigma-related work in 1963, the evolving conceptions of stigma have not been uniformly operationalized, with few measures used consistently among leading researchers. As men who have sex with men (MSM) may experience multiple stigmas due to sexual minority status, race, and HIV-status, this work explores the lack of consistent conceptualization, assessment, and operationalization of stigma in research literature.

methods: Using systematic review methodology, we searched PubMed (MEDLINE) and PsychINFO for all quantitative publications between 1974 and 2014 reporting measures of sexual minority stigma among MSM. Studies measuring only HIV/AIDS-related stigma or measures among non-MSM populations were excluded.

results: Of 1532 screened articles, 83 articles met inclusion criteria. Only 22 of these articles included definitions of stigma. Goffman, Herek and Crocker were cited most frequently (n=13, 7, 4, respectively, not mutually exclusive). 183 instances of stigma-related measures were reported, of which 134 were unique. 89 of all reported measures were adapted (in length, scaling options, and/or wording). Of all measurements, the Internalized Homophobia Scale (IHP) was used most frequently (n=8). Use of the 10-item Stigma Consciousness Questionnaire (SCQ) was reported in six publications.


discussion: This review found limited cohesion among measures of sexual-minority related stigma among MSM. In an effort to better understand the impact of stigma among vulnerable populations, these findings highlight the need for consistent and validated methods of stigma assessment in order to improve stigma-related health outcomes.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify the ways in which the concept of stigma been operationalized or defined in studies that target MSM.

Keyword(s): Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT)

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been employed under federally funded grants to examine HIV and other health disparities among sexual minority populations. My scientific interests focus on the social-cultural and interpersonal infrastructure sustaining high-risk sexual behavior among at-risk populations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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