[PDF] Internalised stigma as a barrier to access to health and social care services by minority ethnic groups in the UK

Race Equality Foundation
Race Equality Foundation (REF)
Publication date:
01 April 2015


Better Health Briefing 36

Key messages

  • The concept of stigma covers a number of interrelated components, such as stereotyping, labelling, loss of status, power exertion and discrimination. Externalised stigma results from the actions of external players, internalised stigma is an individual’s own sense of devaluation and discrimination.
  • Black Africans and other minority ethnic groups in the UK are likely to perceive themselves as outsiders, hence they are likely to experience stigma. This may have knock on effects, such as shunning health and social care services.
  • Evidence suggests that HIV positive Black Africans in the UK are likely to conceal their HIV status and to forfeit potential sources of social support because of internalised stigma.
  • There is need for research into internalised stigma among minority ethnic groups in the UK to inform current and future campaigns addressing stigma. Such research and subsequent interventions should involve all stakeholders involved in services targeting minority ethnic groups in the UK.