Table 1

Components of stigma

Component nameDescription
Distinguishing and labelling differenceThe oversimplification and categorisation of groups based on attributes is an attempt to make sense of our complex world.
Such categorisation leads to “taken for granted” labels that are applied in relation from one person to another.
Within a society specific labels become socially salient and therefore desirable.
Associating human difference with negative attributesLabelled differences can become linked to stereotypes, which can confer a socially undesirable characteristic about another person.
Separating “us” from “them”Those labelled with a socially undesirable characteristic can be viewed as fundamentally different from “us”, which can lead to further generalised negative labelling due to a magnified perceived difference.
Status loss and discriminationDue to being viewed as having socially undesirable characteristics a person may be set apart or devalued leading to a disadvantaged social position within a social hierarchy.
The dependence upon powerThe exercise of power consciously or otherwise is often overlooked.
Being part of a socially desirable label allows choice and power over someone in a less powerful position with respect to things such as inclusion or opportunity.

Information from [6].