A comparison of status and stigma processes: Explicit and implicit appraisals of “mentally ill people” and “uneducated people”.

In prior work, we proposed that the related processes of status differentiation and stigmatization both diminish the status of negatively labeled groups, but that only stigma also engenders social rejection, in part via appraisals of abnormality (Lucas, & Phelan, 2012, Phelan, Lucas, Ridgeway, & Taylor, 2014). We found support for this model using behavioral measures of influence and social distance. In this article, we compare status and stigma processes using both explicit (self-reported, consciously controlled) and implicit (relatively less consciously controlled) associations in a large, online volunteer sample (N = 1,348) based on appraisals of “uneducated people” (low status) and “mentally ill people” (high stigma). As expected, we found that both uneducated and mentally ill people elicited negative explicit and implicit appraisals on the dimension of incompetence, and that mentally ill people elicited explicit and implicit appraisals of abnormality. Contrary to our prediction, uneducated people were also viewed, explicitly and implicitly, as abnormal, suggesting pervasive bias across two very disparate groups (uneducated and mentally ill), appraisal types (explicit and implicit), and appraisal dimensions (incompetent and abnormal). Notably, in follow-up manipulation checks to better understand the impact of the uneducated people category label, using independent samples, we showed that the term uneducated tends to elicit representation of individuals who did not complete high school, and we replicated the original findings that uneducated people (especially those with less than a high school education) are appraised as both incompetent and abnormal. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)