Academic journal article Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology

The Mediating Role of Self-Efficacy between Perceived Stigma and Self-Esteem

Academic journal article Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology

The Mediating Role of Self-Efficacy between Perceived Stigma and Self-Esteem

Article excerpt

Stigma is defined as an attribute, which is devalued in a particular social context (Crocker, Major & Steele, 1998). Goffman (1963) organized stigma in three major categories such as 'Abomination of Body', 'Blemishes in character' and 'Tribal stigma', which can be further divided in two main groups of stigma viz. 'Discredited'- stigma with visible cues and 'Discreditable' stigma where the stigma cues can be hidden. These two groups include all these categories of stigma. Physical disability is considered to be a 'discredited' stigma as the stigma attribute is visible to others. One of the major consequences of stigma seen among all stigmatized groups is the negative impact of stigma on the self-esteem of the stigmatized (D'Augelli & Grossman, 2001; Major O' Brien, 2005). Few studies have mentioned that negative impact of stigma experiences affects the self-esteem of the physically challenged individuals. The present research examines the process or mechanism between the perceived stigma and self-esteem in the case of physically challenged individuals. The study also emphasized on the significance of self-efficacy for the physically challenged groups and proposed self-efficacy as a mediator in testing the relationship between stigma experiences and self-esteem for the physically challenged individuals.

Social stigma of being physically challenged

'Abomination of Body' is one of the three categories described by Goffman (1963), which includes people with various bodily deformities thus, lacking aesthetic qualities. Physical disability comes under this category of stigma as it is often considered unaesthetic but, also creates existential anxiety among able-bodied individuals. Further, the bio-cultural framework of stigma also justifies stigmatization against disabled people. This framework suggests that society has always segregated those individuals who have proved to be a hindrance due to various reasons including physical disability, immorality, etc in the effective functioning of the group of healthy people (Neuberg, Dylan, Smith & Asher, 2003).

Studies have shown that abled-bodies individuals carry negative attitude towards physically challenged individuals (Louvet, 2007). Due to their disability status they continue to experience marginalization, discrimination, violence and social exclusion in terms of education, employment, housing and other facilities as compared to non-disabled individuals (Sarah, 2003; Schröttle & Glammeier, 2013). People with various physical disabilities not only experience discrimination from their coworkers and colleagues at the workplace but, sometimes are even blamed for the stigma reactions (Fevre, Robinson, Lewis & Jones, 2013). Another study on Malaysian physically disabled employees found that they experience workplace discrimination and also poor growth possibilities as an employee (Khoo, Tiun, & Lee, 2013). These marginalization and stigmatization may have implications on their self-esteem.

Consequences of stigma on the self-esteem of the physically challenged

Stigmatization has linked with various consequences to physically challenged individuals such as social anxiety, health, wellbeing and socio-economic status other than self-esteem. However, the present study focuses only on the self-related outcomes to this group. The concept of self includes two dimensions: self-esteem and self-efficacy aspects of self-concept (Gecas, 1982). Self-esteem is considered to be one of the significant aspects of self-concept. It is the self evaluations made by an individual about oneself (Rosenberg, 1965). Self-esteem consists of both evaluative and emotional dimensions of the self-concept (Gecas, 1982). It is found to be one of the basic needs in humans, which motivate individuals to strive for a sense of self-worth. Incapability of developing a positive self-worth has several negative consequences, which affects various aspects of individual's life (for review, Williams, Forgas, & Hippel, 2005). …

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