Evans Authors: Ines Jurcevic

Disclosing a concealable stigma has the potential for both positive outcomes, such as receipt of social support, and negative outcomes, such as being the target of prejudice. Identifying a disclosure strategy that minimizes prejudice while increasing the likelihood of social support can build theory regarding the underpinnings of stigma and provide guidance to those with concealable stigmas. Across three experiments, we tested a theory-driven disclosure strategy (perceiving emotional content vs. purely factual content) for stigmatizing conditions that elicit sympathy or disgust. These experiments (N = 363) revealed that for disgust-eliciting stigmas, disclosing with feelings in addition to factual information leads to higher social support, compared to only disclosure of factual information. We tested and replicated this effect across disclosure of both medical and physical health conditions. This research advances our theoretical understanding of disclosure of stigma and offers pragmatic and implementable suggestions for stigma disclosure.