Dealing with stigma: Experiences of persons affected by disabilities and leprosy

Mimi Lusli, Marjolein B.M. Zweekhorst, Beatriz Miranda-Galarza, Ruth M.H. Peters, Sarah Cummings, Francisia Saveria Sika Ery Seda, Joske F.G. Bunders, Irwanto

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36 Citations (Scopus)


Persons affected by leprosy or by disabilities face forms of stigma that have an impact on their lives. This study seeks to establish whether their experiences of stigma are similar, with a view to enabling the two groups of people to learn from each other. Accounts of experiences of the impact of stigma were obtained using in-depth interviews and focus group discussion with people affected by leprosy and by disabilities not related to leprosy. The analysis shows that there are a lot of similarities in impact of stigma in terms of emotions, thoughts, behaviour, and relationships between the two groups. The main difference is that those affected by leprosy tended to frame their situation in medical terms, while those living with disabilities described their situation from a more social perspective. In conclusion, the similarities offer opportunities for interventions and the positive attitudes and behaviours can be modelled in the sense that both groups can learn and benefit. Research that tackles different aspects of stigmatization faced by both groups could lead to inclusive initiatives that help individuals to come to terms with the stigma and to advocate against exclusion and discrimination.

Original languageEnglish
Article number261329
JournalBioMed Research International
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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