Exploring Stigmatization and Stigma Management in Mental Health Court: Assessing Modified Labeling Theory in a New Context

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Cindy Brooks Dollar, Assistant Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: Drawing on Link and colleagues' modified labeling theory, this article examines whether the stigma management strategies defendants anticipate using after mental health court exit are associated with their reported experiences during court. Using survey data from 34 mental health court graduates, we find that respondents generally perceive the mental health court as procedurally just, did not experience stigmatizing shame, and anticipate using the inclusionary coping strategy of education over the exclusionary strategies of secrecy and withdrawal. Moreover, findings reveal that the anticipated use of stigma management strategies is associated with mental health court experiences in that procedural justice is associated with inclusionary coping strategies, while stigmatizing shame is associated with exclusionary coping strategies. We conclude by encouraging researchers to further explore the role of stigmatization and shame in specialty court contexts and to continue investigating these defendant perceptions of these courts' process.

Additional Information

Sociological Forum, 29(3), 720-735
Language: English
Date: 2014
mental health court, modified labeling theory, procedural justice, shame, specialty courts, stigma

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