A critical but understudied aspect of stigma involves the possibility that stigmatizing attitudes and behaviors might be transmitted from one generation to the next. We respond to the RFA "Revision Applications for Basic Social and Behavioral Research on the Social, Cultural, Biological, and Psychological Mechanisms of Stigma" (RFA-MD-13-005)" by 1) exploring a heretofore understudied mechanism of stigma, the intergenerational transmission from parent to child, and 2) examining in combination two consequential forms of such transmission as they pertain to mental illness and race/ethnic stigma/prejudice. By capitalizing on features of the original study to which this revision applies - including its multi-ethnic sample, its sampling of both parents and children and its extensive battery of mental illness stigma measures -- we are able to add assessments of race/ethnic stigma/prejudice and thereby create the capacity to implement a novel study of the intergenerational transmission of stigma/prejudice. Specifically, we will be able to assess whether such intergenerational influences actually take place, how strong such influences are, how they work and what consequences they have. By adding measures of race/ethnic prejudice to the 24 month follow up of the original study we expect to obtain data on over 370 parent-/child pairs allowing us to evaluate parent/child associations for both race/ethnic and mental-illness stigma. The knowledge gained can help in the construction of policies and the design interventions that might encourage the transmission of non-stigmatizing attitudes and discourage the transmission of stigmatizing ones.
Research shows that stigma/prejudice is critically important for the life chances of people who are the objects of such stigma, including their capacity to lead a healthy life. We turn attention to the surprisingly understudied area of parent to child transmission of stigmatizing attitudes and behaviors as they apply to race/ethnic status and mental illnesses. Gaining new information about the extent of such transmission and the mechanisms through which it occurs will increase our capacity to develop policies and interventions that will reduce health inequalities.