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Evidence that anticipated stigma predicts poorer depressive symptom trajectories among emerging adults living with concealable stigmatized identities

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People living with concealable stigmatized identities are vulnerable to experiencing greater depressive symptoms as a result of occupying a lower social status. In the present research, we examine the effect of changes in enacted stigma and changes in anticipated stigma on trajectories of depressive symptoms over time. A sample of 192 college-aged emerging adults (81.0% female, 81.9% Caucasian, M age = 18.82 years) living with a concealable stigmatized identity (e.g., mental illness and sexual minority status) completed measures of enacted stigma, anticipated stigma, and depressive symptoms at two time points across eight weeks. Hierarchical linear modeling analyses indicate that increases in anticipated stigma, but not enacted stigma, predicted poorer trajectories of depressive symptoms, controlling for the effect of baseline rumination and other identity-related variables. These data are among the first to demonstrate that worries about future devaluation predict poorer depressive symptom trajectories over time among college-aged emerging adults.
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Keywords: Concealable stigmatized identities; anticipated stigma; depressive symptoms; enacted stigma

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA, USA 2: Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, USA

Publication date: March 3, 2016

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