Methods: Mind the Gap

Webinar Series

Methods for Understanding and Addressing Stigma To Prevent Common Risk Factors for Disease

December 11, 2019
Valerie Earnshaw, Ph.D.
Valerie Earnshaw, Ph.D.

University of Delaware

About the Webinar

Stigma is recognized as a fundamental cause of health inequities across a wide range of disease contexts. Yet, our efforts to understand and address stigma have been critiqued and limited. As an example, research to understand stigma has been critiqued for lacking theoretical rigor, clouding our efforts to measure stigma with precision. Interventions to address stigma have been limited in scope and impact, with stigma associated with many health conditions, characteristics, and identities persisting over time despite our best efforts.

In this presentation, Dr. Valerie Earnshaw provides a cross-cutting conceptual overview of stigma, identifies targets for stigma measurement, recommends methodological approaches for stigma research, and reviews the intervention toolkit to address stigma. She draws on examples from her own and others’ research, with a focus on two highly stigmatized disease contexts: HIV and substance use. She advocates for theory-based cross-cutting research to improve understanding of stigma and the development of intersectional, multilevel, and longitudinal interventions to enhance efforts to address stigma.

About Valerie Earnshaw

Dr. Earnshaw is a social psychologist who studies associations between stigma and health inequities across the lifespan. She bridges stigma theory from the fields of psychology, sociology, and anthropology with research on disease prevention and treatment in public health and medicine. Dr. Earnshaw applies rigorous methodologies and data analytic techniques to her work, including longitudinal designs, social network analysis, multilevel modeling, and structural equation modeling. She has contributed to the development and psychometric evaluation of measures to assess stigma among people living with chronic illness, HIV, and substance use disorders. These stigma measures have been used to better understand the extent to which individuals experience stigma and how stigma impacts health outcomes. Additionally, Dr. Earnshaw has collaborated on interventions to address stigma and promote health among people at risk of or living with HIV and/or substance use disorders. Dr. Earnshaw is an Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at University of Delaware.