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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Conceptualizing the Closet: Differentiating Stigma Concealment and Nondisclosure Processes

Conceptualizing the Closet: Differentiating Stigma Concealment and Nondisclosure Processes

Skyler D. Jackson and Jonathan J. Mohr University of Maryland, College Park

Individuals with concealable stigmatized identities face many options regarding whether, when, how, and to whom to conceal or disclose information about their marginalized social status. Numerous studies have examined the psychosocial health consequences of different stigma concealment and disclosure processes, but research in this area is hindered by a relative lack of attention to potential differences among these stigma management variables.



Research has made it increasingly clear that stigma management decisions impact psychological health and social identity among people with indiscernible stigmatized identities. However, to unearth whether, how, and when stigma management intersects with psychosocial factors, more attention must be given to the similarities and differences between various conceptualizations and assessments of stigma management constructs. This study is one of a handful that has investigated multiple stigma management variables simultaneously, and results question the conventional wisdom that they reflect a singular process. Thinking about stigma management as a set of distinct, interrelated processes raises intriguing possibilities for future scholarship related to the conceptualization assessment, and study of identity management.
Such contributions could help strengthen current clinical interventions, social services, and advocacy work aimed to support the well-being of individuals with concealable identities.

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