JHSPH Stigma Lab
Given persisting challenges of stigma and discrimination in inhibiting our ability to adopt evidence-informed policies related to substance use and mental health, we are developing a robust communication research initiative.
This initiative aims to identify evidence-based strategies for shifting public views about populations with mental illness and substance use disorder to increase the chances that meaningful, evidence-informed policies and practices will be adopted.
Featured Recent Research
In a recent survey-embedded randomized experiment, Center faculty evaluated the impact of exposure to different opioid use disorder stigma reduction messages on attitudes among health professionals. You can check out the Johns Hopkins Health System efforts to reduce stigma here.
Public Opinion and News Media Framing of Medication for Opioid Use Disorder
Although we have highly effective FDA-approved medications for opioid use disorder (e.g., methadone, buprenorphine), these medications remain underused. Our team’s work below examines stigma as an important barrier to broader access to these medications.
Public Opinion and Message Framing Research on the Overdose Crisis
Center faculty are conducting multiple studies of policy communication around the issue of addiction and overdose. Recent studies include public opinion survey research examining Americans’ perceptions of the causes, consequences, and solutions of the overdose crisis and message framing experiments testing communication strategies to increase public support for harm reduction, naloxone distribution, and policies to facilitate access to supportive services for marginalized populations, including pregnant populations and people with a felony drug conviction.
- Public support for safe consumption sites and syringe services programs to combat the opioid epidemic
- Stigmatizing language in news media coverage of the opioid epidemic: Implications for public health
- Message framing to reduce stigma and increase support for policies to improve the wellbeing of people with prior drug convictions
- US news media coverage of solutions to the opioid crisis, 2013-2017
- Social stigma toward persons with prescription opioid use disorder: Associations with public support for punitive and public health-oriented policies
- Primary care physicians' perspectives on the prescription opioid epidemic
- Messaging to increase public support for naloxone distribution policies in the United States: Results from a randomized survey experiment
- Effects of competing narratives on public perceptions of opioid pain reliever addiction during pregnancy
- Reducing health-related stigma through narrative messages
Understanding Framing of Mental Illness and Strategies to Reduce Stigma
Center faculty have also conducted research on strategies to reduce stigma toward mental illness, how the news media frames mental illness and emphasis in news media on violence, and health providers’ perceptions of criminal justice-involved clients with serious mental illness.