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Title: Stigma towards facial disfigurement : testing awareness and imagined contact strategies in the reduction of stigma towards people with visible facial differences
Author: Chamorro Coneo, A. M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8510 5994
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2019
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Stigmatisation has been suggested to be partly framed within disease-avoidance functions that use disgust mechanisms to protect humans against potential sources of contamination. Furthermore, societal pressures regarding appearance cognitions also seem to contribute towards observers' responses towards individuals with facial disfigurements (FD). Despite a convincing body of research supporting the disabling impact of having a FD there seems to be a gap in the literature for studies addressing ways to reduce public stigma towards FD. This thesis aimed to investigate variables associated with stigma towards FD and to test the effect of anti-stigma strategies on responses towards facial differences. Study 1 investigated the correlations between disgust sensitivity, appearance cognition, and motivations to respond without prejudice on implicit and explicit attitudes towards FD. Findings suggested that stigma towards FD may operate as a dual-process, comprising innate disease-avoidance and societal individual predispositions. Gender differences were also found in relation to these variables and attitudes towards FD. Following findings of the first experiment, Studies 2 and 3 aimed to test whether education and contact-based strategies could be useful in reducing intended avoidance, intergroup anxiety (Study 2) and improve evaluations of a mock FD applicant (Study 3). Results from Study 2 found a significant effect of a written awareness education message and imagined contact (IC) in the reduction of intentions to avoid FD, but not in levels of intergroup anxiety. Study 3 aimed to replicate these findings using an anti-stigma strategy with a sample of British employees with recruitment duties. Findings failed to replicate the effect on avoidance detected on Study 2 but showed a significant effect of IC (compared to controls) in ratings of emotional strength towards a FD mock applicant. The findings indicated that innate factors, appearance cognitions and conscious efforts to respond in a non-stigmatising way seem to be associated with FD stigma. Education and imagined contact may be cost-effective strategies to encourage the inclusion of FD, particularly in scenarios where they are most hindered by their visible difference.
Supervisor: Thompson, Andrew ; Norman, Paul Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available