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4 Rev. Eur. Stud. 54 (2012)
How the Negative Stigma Associated with AIDS Affects Sufferers' Trustworthiness

handle is hein.journals/rveurost4 and id is 646 raw text is: 

                                                              Review of European Studies; Vol. 4, No. 4; 2012
                                                                     ISSN 1918-7173  E-ISSN 1918-7181
                                                        Published by Canadian Center of Science and Education

   How the Negative Stigma Associated with AIDS Affects Sufferers'


                           Stephen Rice1, Joshua Sandry1 & Jessica Richardson1
1 Department of Psychology, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA

Correspondence: Stephen Rice, Department of Psychology, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM,
USA. Tel: 1-575-646-2502. E-mail: scrice67@gmail.com

Received: June 1, 2012  Accepted: July 4, 2012  Online Published: July 16, 2012
doi: 10.5539/res.v4n4p54         URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/res.v4n4p54

J.S. was supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the Graduate STEM Fellows in
K-12 Education (GK-12) Program, under grant number DGE-0947465.

Trust is foundational for social and healthcare relationships. Stigma associated with AIDS may affect evaluations
of trustworthiness in AIDS sufferers. Participants evaluated the trustworthiness of someone described as being
honest, dishonest, or having AIDS. The individual described as having AIDS was judged as untrustworthy as the
individual described as being dishonest. In a follow-up experiment, the individual was described as being honest,
dishonest, contracting AIDS via heterosexual sex, via male-to-male sexual intercourse, or via a blood transfusion.
Someone contracting AIDS from male-to-male sexual intercourse was judged as untrustworthy as a dishonest
person and more untrustworthy than individuals in the other conditions.
Keywords: AIDS, HIV, trust, disability, diversity
1. Introduction
Since the first few cases of HIV/AIDS surfaced in the early 1980s the scientific community has spent a large
amount of time, money, and resources investigating the causes and treatments. A substantial amount of research
has also been conducted in the behavioral sciences, investigating, among other things, the stigma associated with
people who have HIV/AIDS and the related impact of stigma and discrimination on HIV/AIDS sufferers
(Mahajan et al., 2008). In this paper, we argue that the negativity of the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS may
transfer over to other psychological constructs, such as trust.
While there are many theories that have been used to assess behaviors of AIDS sufferers, including the Health
Belief Model (Rosenstock, 1966, 1974), and Theory of Reasoned Action/Planned Behavior (Ajzen & Fishbein,
1980; Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975), these theories focus on predicting how people will engage in health related
behaviors via beliefs, attitudes, subjective norms, etc. The goal of our study is not to assess health seeking
behaviors of AIDS sufferers, but rather to examine judgments about AIDS sufferers.
The present paper focuses largely on the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS as well as people's trust perceptions
of these same individuals. A stigmatized person is someone whose social identity or membership in some social
category, calls into question his or her full humanity - the person is devalued, spoiled or flawed in the eyes of
others (p. 504, Crocker, Major, & Steele, 1998). Stigma can be focused at many different groups of people
including the handicapped, the overweight, the unattractive, different races, etc. (Berschid & Walster, 1974;
Farina, 1982; Harris, Harris, & Bocher, 1982; Newman, 1976). Those who are being stigmatized may end up
being undervalued (Crocker, Cornwell, & Major, 1993) which can result in various economic and social
disadvantages (Crocker & Major, 1989; Crocker, Voelkl, Testa, & Major, 1991; Jones, Farina, Hastorf, Markus,
Miller & Scott, 1984).
Typically in the literature on HIV/AIDS, stigma is referred to as a mark of disgrace (Mahajan et al.; Link, 2001).
People with HIV/AIDS have to learn how to cope with the detrimental side effects of stigma (Molero, Fuster,
Jetten & Moriano, 2011). Additionally, HIV/AIDS stigma has been correlated to depression, post-traumatic
stress disorder, sexual risk-taking, (Preston, D'Augelli, Kassab, & Starks, 2007; Simbayi, Kalichman, Strebel,
Cloete, Henda, & Mqeketo, 2007; Vanable, Carey, Blaire, & Littlewood, 2006; Whetten, Reif, Whetten, &

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