Covering up what can't be seen: concealable stigma and mental control.


Journal Article

In these studies the authors examined the effects of concealing a stigma in a social interaction relevant to the stigma. An interview paradigm called for undergraduate female participants who either did or did not have eating disordered characteristics to play the role of someone who did or did not have an eating disorder (ED) while answering stigma-relevant questions. The data suggest that the participants who concealed their stigmas become preoccupied with the control of stigma-relevant thoughts. In Study 1, participants with an ED who role-played not having an ED exhibited more secrecy, suppression, and intrusive thoughts of their ED and more projection of ED-related thoughts onto the interviewer than did those with an ED who role-played someone with an ED or those without an ED who role-played someone without an ED. This finding was replicated in Study 2, and the authors found both increasing accessibility of ED-related words among those participants with concealed stigmas during the interview and high levels of accessibility following the interview.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Smart, L; Wegner, DM

Published Date

  • September 1999

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 77 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 474 - 486

PubMed ID

  • 10510504

Pubmed Central ID

  • 10510504

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-3514

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037//0022-3514.77.3.474


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States