Perceived public stigma and stigmatization in explaining lifetime illicit drug use among emerging adults

Joseph J. Palamar, Perry N. Halkitis, Mathew V. Kiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Illicit drug use is often associated with adverse health and legal consequences, as well as stigma, or social disapproval. Stigma may be enacted as a preventive measure against drug use; however, research was needed to investigate its effects on use in an empirical manner. This cross-sectional study surveyed 1021 emerging adults (age 18-25) throughout Manhattan, New York. We investigated how two forms of stigma-perceived public stigma and personal stigmatization-along with religiosity and exposure to users, explained lifetime use of five drugs: marijuana, powder cocaine, ecstasy, and non-medical use of opioids and amphetamine. Odds ratios for lifetime use of each drug were estimated using age-adjusted stepwise logistic regression models. Results suggest that high levels of exposure to users increased the odds of lifetime use of each drug, and protective effects of religiosity and racial minority status often diminished when controlling for stigma. High levels of stigmatization toward users tended to decrease the odds of use, and perceived public stigma toward users did not explain use of any drug. In conclusion, although individuals who stigmatize users are protected from use, the perception of public stigma does not appear to be valuable in preventing use. Since stigma is associated with adverse psychological and social consequences in users, the efficacy of stigma as a public health tool against drug use is questionable. Public health efforts can deglamorize and discourage use while aiming to reduce stigma toward users by treating use as a health behavior and not a deviant or moral behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)516-525
Number of pages10
JournalAddiction Research and Theory
Volume21
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Fingerprint

Stereotyping
Street Drugs
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Public Health
Logistic Models
Social Stigma
Protective Agents
Health Behavior
Amphetamine
Cannabis
Cocaine
Powders
Opioid Analgesics
Cross-Sectional Studies
Odds Ratio
Psychology
Health
Research

Keywords

  • Emerging adults
  • Illicit drug use
  • Religiosity
  • Social disapproval
  • Stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Perceived public stigma and stigmatization in explaining lifetime illicit drug use among emerging adults. / Palamar, Joseph J.; Halkitis, Perry N.; Kiang, Mathew V.

In: Addiction Research and Theory, Vol. 21, No. 6, 2013, p. 516-525.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Palamar, Joseph J. ; Halkitis, Perry N. ; Kiang, Mathew V. / Perceived public stigma and stigmatization in explaining lifetime illicit drug use among emerging adults. In: Addiction Research and Theory. 2013 ; Vol. 21, No. 6. pp. 516-525.
@article{0464356c97754332bb674eac917ac418,
title = "Perceived public stigma and stigmatization in explaining lifetime illicit drug use among emerging adults",
abstract = "Illicit drug use is often associated with adverse health and legal consequences, as well as stigma, or social disapproval. Stigma may be enacted as a preventive measure against drug use; however, research was needed to investigate its effects on use in an empirical manner. This cross-sectional study surveyed 1021 emerging adults (age 18-25) throughout Manhattan, New York. We investigated how two forms of stigma-perceived public stigma and personal stigmatization-along with religiosity and exposure to users, explained lifetime use of five drugs: marijuana, powder cocaine, ecstasy, and non-medical use of opioids and amphetamine. Odds ratios for lifetime use of each drug were estimated using age-adjusted stepwise logistic regression models. Results suggest that high levels of exposure to users increased the odds of lifetime use of each drug, and protective effects of religiosity and racial minority status often diminished when controlling for stigma. High levels of stigmatization toward users tended to decrease the odds of use, and perceived public stigma toward users did not explain use of any drug. In conclusion, although individuals who stigmatize users are protected from use, the perception of public stigma does not appear to be valuable in preventing use. Since stigma is associated with adverse psychological and social consequences in users, the efficacy of stigma as a public health tool against drug use is questionable. Public health efforts can deglamorize and discourage use while aiming to reduce stigma toward users by treating use as a health behavior and not a deviant or moral behavior.",
keywords = "Emerging adults, Illicit drug use, Religiosity, Social disapproval, Stigma",
author = "Palamar, {Joseph J.} and Halkitis, {Perry N.} and Kiang, {Mathew V.}",
year = "2013",
doi = "10.3109/16066359.2012.762508",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "21",
pages = "516--525",
journal = "Addiction Research and Theory",
issn = "1606-6359",
publisher = "Informa Healthcare",
number = "6",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Perceived public stigma and stigmatization in explaining lifetime illicit drug use among emerging adults

AU - Palamar, Joseph J.

AU - Halkitis, Perry N.

AU - Kiang, Mathew V.

PY - 2013

Y1 - 2013

N2 - Illicit drug use is often associated with adverse health and legal consequences, as well as stigma, or social disapproval. Stigma may be enacted as a preventive measure against drug use; however, research was needed to investigate its effects on use in an empirical manner. This cross-sectional study surveyed 1021 emerging adults (age 18-25) throughout Manhattan, New York. We investigated how two forms of stigma-perceived public stigma and personal stigmatization-along with religiosity and exposure to users, explained lifetime use of five drugs: marijuana, powder cocaine, ecstasy, and non-medical use of opioids and amphetamine. Odds ratios for lifetime use of each drug were estimated using age-adjusted stepwise logistic regression models. Results suggest that high levels of exposure to users increased the odds of lifetime use of each drug, and protective effects of religiosity and racial minority status often diminished when controlling for stigma. High levels of stigmatization toward users tended to decrease the odds of use, and perceived public stigma toward users did not explain use of any drug. In conclusion, although individuals who stigmatize users are protected from use, the perception of public stigma does not appear to be valuable in preventing use. Since stigma is associated with adverse psychological and social consequences in users, the efficacy of stigma as a public health tool against drug use is questionable. Public health efforts can deglamorize and discourage use while aiming to reduce stigma toward users by treating use as a health behavior and not a deviant or moral behavior.

AB - Illicit drug use is often associated with adverse health and legal consequences, as well as stigma, or social disapproval. Stigma may be enacted as a preventive measure against drug use; however, research was needed to investigate its effects on use in an empirical manner. This cross-sectional study surveyed 1021 emerging adults (age 18-25) throughout Manhattan, New York. We investigated how two forms of stigma-perceived public stigma and personal stigmatization-along with religiosity and exposure to users, explained lifetime use of five drugs: marijuana, powder cocaine, ecstasy, and non-medical use of opioids and amphetamine. Odds ratios for lifetime use of each drug were estimated using age-adjusted stepwise logistic regression models. Results suggest that high levels of exposure to users increased the odds of lifetime use of each drug, and protective effects of religiosity and racial minority status often diminished when controlling for stigma. High levels of stigmatization toward users tended to decrease the odds of use, and perceived public stigma toward users did not explain use of any drug. In conclusion, although individuals who stigmatize users are protected from use, the perception of public stigma does not appear to be valuable in preventing use. Since stigma is associated with adverse psychological and social consequences in users, the efficacy of stigma as a public health tool against drug use is questionable. Public health efforts can deglamorize and discourage use while aiming to reduce stigma toward users by treating use as a health behavior and not a deviant or moral behavior.

KW - Emerging adults

KW - Illicit drug use

KW - Religiosity

KW - Social disapproval

KW - Stigma

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84886713443&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84886713443&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.3109/16066359.2012.762508

DO - 10.3109/16066359.2012.762508

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84886713443

VL - 21

SP - 516

EP - 525

JO - Addiction Research and Theory

JF - Addiction Research and Theory

SN - 1606-6359

IS - 6

ER -