College of Arts and Sciences
Honors in the Major
Previous research has suggested those in stigmatized groups experience status loss, social rejection, and dehumanization. The homeless population, in particular, has also been perceived as the ones to blame for their current situation. Using the homeless population as the stigmatized group, the current study investigated whether personalizing people in stigmatized groups leads to differences in attitudes of them. Participants consisted of 148 undergraduate students enrolled in psychology courses from the University of North Florida. Via Qualtrics, participants were randomly assigned to a vignette that either included general information about a homeless man or one with more personal details such as his name and family and employment history. Attitudes were assessed through social distance, perceived dangerousness, willingness to provide economic aid, and the extent to which the people in the vignettes were to blame for their situation. Results from independent samples t-tests indicated those in the personalized condition, compared to those in the general condition, were significantly more willing to socially engage with the man in the vignette (p = .005), perceived him as less dangerous (p = .002), and believed he was less to blame for his situation (p<.001). Economic aid was not different between the groups. The results suggest the attitudes towards stigmatized individuals depend on how much personal information is provided, rather than just the stigma itself.
Leon, Kalie, "The effects of personalization on homelessness stigma" (2022). UNF Undergraduate Honors Theses. 27.