Dual perspectives on stigma: reports of experienced and enacted stigma by those affected and unaffected by podoconiosis

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Desta Ayode *
Abebayehu Tora
David Farrell
Getnet Tadele
Gail Davey
Colleen M. McBride
(*) Corresponding Author:
Desta Ayode | destaayode@yahoo.com


Background: Disease-related stigma is a public health concern steadily gaining global attention. Evidence consistently shows that an individual’s attribution of disease cause can prompt or justify interpersonal stigma. However, few studies have explored causal beliefs about inherited disease and their influence on stigmatising behaviours in low and middle income countries. Design and methods: The study was conducted in 2013, in six communities in Wolaita zone, Southern Ethiopia. A total of 1800 respondents took part in the study, 600 were affected by an inherited disease and 1200 were unaffected neighbours. Two versions of the interviewer- administered survey were created, with measures assessed in parallel on experienced stigma for the affected and enacted stigma for unaffected respondents. Results: Mean levels of enacted stigma reported by unaffected respondents were slightly lower (2.0, SD=0.7) than experienced stigma reported by affected respondents [2.2 (standard deviation=1.1)]. Beliefs that podoconiosis was hereditary were significantly and positively associated with levels of enacted stigma reported by unaffected respondents and experienced stigma reported by affected respondents (PConclusions: If stigma reduction interventions are to be successful, culturally tailored, gender inclusive and innovative health education programs are required, directed at the general community as well as individuals affected by inherited diseases.

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