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21-12-2019 | Uitgave 3/2020

Journal of Behavioral Medicine 3/2020

Disgust propensity has a causal link to the stigmatization of people with cancer

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Behavioral Medicine > Uitgave 3/2020
Auteurs:
Haffiezhah A. Azlan, Paul G. Overton, Jane Simpson, Philip A. Powell
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10865-019-00130-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Abstract

Disgust-driven stigma may be motivated by an assumption that a stigmatized target presents a disease threat, even in the absence of objective proof. Accordingly, even non-contagious diseases, such as cancer, can become stigmatized by eliciting disgust. This study had two parts: a survey (n = 272), assessing the association between disgust traits and cancer stigma; and an experiment, in which participants were exposed to a cancer surgery (n = 73) or neutral video (n = 68), in order to test a causal mechanism for the abovementioned association. Having a higher proneness to disgust was associated with an increased tendency to stigmatize people with cancer. Further, a significant causal pathway was observed between disgust propensity and awkwardness- and avoidance-based cancer stigma via elevated disgust following cancer surgery exposure. In contrast, those exposed to cancer surgery not experiencing elevated disgust reported less stigma than controls. Exposure-based interventions, which do not elicit disgust, may be profitable in reducing cancer stigma.

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