Understanding public stigma toward substance dependence

Patrick Janulis*, Joseph R. Ferrari, Patrick Fowler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


This study examined the mechanisms of stigma toward individuals diagnosed with substance-related disorders. The applicability of a mental health model of stigma extended to substance dependence was tested. Undergraduates completed a modified version of stigma questionnaires previously used to measure mental health stigma models. Questionnaires captured familiarity, perceived dangerousness, fear, and desired social distance toward individuals dependent to alcohol, marijuana, and heroin. Path analysis assessed the direct and indirect effects within this theoretical model for each substance. For marijuana and heroin, path models suggested that familiarity indirectly predicted desired social distance through perceived dangerousness and fear. For alcohol, familiarity did not indirectly or directly predict desired social distance. Implications for applying mental health models to substance disorder stigma are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1065-1072
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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