STIGMATIZATION: ROLE OF PERSONALITY TYPE AND GENDER IN COPING WITH HIV/AIDS STIGMATIZATION



In the contemporary times, stigmatization has been a sources of worry to psychologists and other helping professionals due to its urgly implications, psychological consequences and devastating impaction vulnerable individuals. Stigmatization seem to be associated with negative psychological implications especially among people living with life threatening illness research show that stigmatization is an urgly phenomenon particularly associated with individuals confronted with HIVIAIDS courage (Goff man, 1963). Stigmatization could be related to social or physical isolation, unlawful acts of exclusion, abuse, loss of job or business and gossip. Research reveal that stigmatization has been linked with in curable and serve  diseases with undesirable characteristics that seem to conform with individual behavours that tend to negative social norms and ethnics (Goff man, 1963; Fredrik sson) (Kanabus, 2007).

However, the level of impact of stigma on individuals confronted by such several diseases seem to differ.
            Stigmatization which is associated with HIV/AIDS scourge seem to be the most single important factor that can produce and extend negative psychological effects of HIV/AIDS (Daniel 1991). Stigmatization has been variously conceptualized by researchers to reflect its varied sources, effects, assessment and coping strategies in relation to negative attitudes and blames town people living with HIV/AIDs (link a phelan, 2001 Capitanio, 1999). However, conception regarding stigmatization seen to be situation specific and content driven because people tend to discriminate in their stigmatizing attitude towards victims due to perceptual discrepancies. Recheach reveals that stigmatization is relevant to prevention and treatment of Hiv/Aids because the stigma around HIV and aids trends to work agiants control and preventive measures (Kalichmaan and sinbayi,2003; kalachman & sinbayi , 2004 ). Hence , without the stigmatization, individuals could early hide their disease  and continues to spree them sporadically. Global d3finition of stigmatization seem to pose a lot of challenges due to its relationship with varied diseases  and different interpretations by individuals. Crocker and major (1989), observed that stigmatized individuals are confron6ted \with negative beliefs, attitudes and stereotypes due to discrimination from others . this confrontational attitudes discourages the individuals being stigmatized from revealing the sources and status of their illnesses, rather, they hide and spread them further. Cultural beliefs, social distancing, rejection of endorsement of  restrictive policies for  people living with Hiv/Aids , unawareness and a host of other psychological factors reflect  the impact of stigmatization on several aspects of human lives that obstruct the control, prevention and coping strategies of Hiv?Aids stigmatization (Parker & Aggleton,2003; Boer & Emons,2004 )
            A lot of theories have been put forward to explain the causes, perception, control and it is the contention of this work to adopt three of such theories; in coping with Hiv/Aids stigmatization. They include; Dual-process theory (Pryor, Reeder & Laudau, 1999 ); component theory ( Link and Phelan ,2006)  ; modified labeling theory ( Fite & Wright< 2000); cultural theory ( Mechanic, 1995) ; personality type theory (Friedman & Rosenman, 1974); and socio-econbomic theory (Conyers, Unger & Rumrill,2005). Dewspite the immense contributions of this theories to the study of stigmatization, the present study is anchored on the component theory which buttressed the role played by various interrelated components that produce Hiv/Aids stigmatization.
            The component theory proposed by Linke and Phelan(2006) contended that both the definition and assessment of Hiv/Aids stigma is contigent upon its coping strategies due to the requirement of joint action of both the comprehensive and incomprehensive nature of related components to produce stigma . it was the submission of the component theories that the five interrelated components that act together to produce stigma do so in varied areas, levels and locations such as: labeling socially relevance difference (eg public denial, poor social support and lack of protection for the Hiv/Aids vulnerable individuals ) ; attachment  of undesirable characteristics to people living with Hiv/Aids (eg stigmatized individuals are seen as promiscuous and immoral ); isolation, distancing, separation and disempowerment of the stigmatized by the stigmatizer (eg disorganized relationship between the stigmatizer and the stigmatized ) ; and experience of loss and exercise of power (eg loss of job, health benefits, and other social benefit by the stigmatized) .  the component theory therefore opined that stigmatization could be possible only when all the components are connected to act together. It is the submission of this paper that appropriate coping strategies for Hiv/Aids stigmatization is vital to ensure proper intervention strategies towards the control of Hiv/Aids stigmatization and reduction of the spread of Hiv/Aids . However, the dual-process theory (Pryor, Reeser & Laudau, 1999) seem to support the component theory by suggesting that reactions to the stigmatized are full of ambivalence as it assures a temporal pattern of reactions waiting for other conditions to be in place for adjustments. This seems to buttress the impact of the dynamic nature of human reactions and emotions to the perception of the stigmatized by the stigmatizer. But the modified labeling theory differ from the component theory as it posits that stigmatizing beliefs become strong and meaningful only when the stigmatized individuals realize that they are part of the stigmatizing category . Hence, the discrepancies in the two theories could be attributed to personality factors and components attributes within the environment. It is the contention of this paper therefore, that relevant coping strategies could be employed to resolve the discrepancies in the theoretical explanations of Hiv/Aids stigmatization. However, there seem to be some weaknesses of component theory that could be criticized. It was observed by the personality theorists (Friedman & Rosenman,1974) that personality type of individuals (type A and type B) could influence the attitudes, perception and coping strategies towards Hiv/Aids stigmatization. This position was counter to the position of the component theory as reflected in this work . suffice it to say that no single theory and definition is all embracing regarding Hiv/Aids stigmatization .
            The psychological consequences of human immuno- deficiency virus (Hiv) / acquired immuno deficience syndrome (Aids) infection has become  universal problems in contemporary times. Issues relating to causes, awareness, treatment, coping, realities and sources of Hiv/Aids seem to be controversial in relation to Hiv/Aids stigmatization, hence, the need for proper coping strategies. Herek, Capitanio and Uidaman (2002)  opined that culture can influence individuals coping strategies because Hiv/Aids ailments may be culturally interpreted as taboo within the specific cultural context  to enhance cultural ostracism of Hiv/Aids victims . there is need for intervention regarding Hiv/Aids stigmatization especially in Nigeria through proper coping strategies. In Nigeria, researches show that people living with Hiv/Aids experienced discrimination in  form of isolation, segregation, denial, and dismissal in work places and in separate offices (Nwanna,2005).
Nwanna(200) also reported that people living with Hiv/Aids received the highest level of discrimination as they were not allowed to share the same canteens, toilets, hostels and sports facilities with their  counterparts so as to be stigmatized against.     
            Since stigmatization is evident in devastating diseases and illnesses such as Hiv/Aids, the focus of researchers have been on ways of helping individuals living with the disease to cope with the stigmatization (Link & phelan, 2006;Link & Phelan, 2001). Coping have bee\n variously defined by researchers and there seems to be dearth  of empirical studies regarding  various coping strategies adopted by individuals in such circumstances like stress, sports , work , and illness such as Hiv/Aids. Holts and Hogg(2002)  gave the assertion that coping is the sum total of an individuals ability and methods used to master difficult and stressful circumstances. But, Lazarus (1999)  saw coping as individuals cognitive, affective and  behavioral strategies to manage specific external and internal demands or obstacles while Vanbrackel(2006) expressed the importance of development of cognitive, behavioral, political, economic, cultural , skill and religious power to cope with Hiv/Aids stigmatization and its biological and psychological consequences. The above research information regarding coping with Hiv/Aids stigmatization tends to align in there direction of discussions as they discussed the internal and external factors that can influence coping with Hiv/Aids stigma. However, perceived stigmatized attitude towards people living with Hiv/Aids seems to stimulate psychological reactions of fear, depression, anxiety, body image disturbance, ambivalence, guilt and a host of others, hence, the contention of this paper that there is need to develop appropriate coping strategies against Hiv/Aids stigmatization .
            There is dearth in empirical evidence regarding coping with sports stress, job stress and academic stress using approach and avoidance coping strategies (Anshel & Si,2008; Anshel & Wells, 2000). Although, their seems to be popular research reports on this approach to the study of coping, other researchers (eg. Holt and Hogg, 2002; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984; and compass,1987) have captured coping from problem- focused and emotion-focused strategies. Also Nwankwo and Onyisi (2012)  conceptualized coping within the Adaptive and Maladaptive dimensions. There is the need for variations in coping strategies so as to achieve the expected objectives of the situation. So, irrespective of the strategy of pattern, the purpose of coping effort will be focused on how reliable or unreliable, adaptive or maladaptive the coping strategy is . therefore, it is the contention of this present  study to conceptualize  coping into two dimension of adaptive and maladaptive coping .
            Adaptive coping responses to Hiv/Aids stigmatization represents positive attitude and control to reduce , eliminate and change all stigma inducing factors within the environment of individuals ( Letamo,2003) . Also , adaptive/ positive coping strategies ensures proper control of thoughts, actions, polarization, attitude, levels of justice and education to reduce stigmatization (Letamo, 2003) . It is not contestable that likes beget likes, therefore adaptive coping strategies could change a whole lot of stigmatizing attitude towards people living with Hiv/Aids.
            Maladaptive coping responses to Hiv/Aids could mean negative actions, statements and strategies intended to demoralize and destabilize people living with Hiv/Aids  supporting and promoting all stigma inducing factors within the individual’s environment due to lack of proper control (Barett & whiteside, 2002).
            The need for adaptive coping strategies among people living with HIV/AIDS is cruwal to both researchers, health workers, caregivers psychologists and the government. It will provide adequate intervention in the areas  of knowdege of HIV status, reduction/AIDS  of HIV spread and reduction of stigmatization. This will also help to reduce hopelessness, helplessness anxiety/stress and discrimination (Nyblade, 2006).
            Research has demonstrated that there are several personal variables that could influence coping strategies of individuals (Anshel & well, 2000; Anshel, Sutarso & Jubenville, 2009).
One of such personal variable that has been observed to be relevant in coping with HIV/AIDS  stigmatization is personality type. Personality type of individuals seem to align with their attitudes, perceptions, cognitions and the way they accept or reject certain conditions in their lives which is their coping strategies. The concept of personality type (Eysench & Eysench, 1977) refers to the psychological classification of different types of individuals to distinguish them from personality traits and personality type (type A and type B). the personality type of individuals (type A and type B) may determine to a reasonable extent their coping strategies towards HIV/AIDS  stigmatization. This shows that personality is a wide reaching concept that can use its aspects to influence conditions.
It was the contention of Cameron (1993) that stigmatization arises from perception through a violation of shared values, attitudes and beliefs that can lead to prejudice through the individuals personality type.
Considering the role of personality type in coping with stigmatization, research reveal that people with personalities that encourages anger, hostility, anxiety, perfectionist tendency and impatience are disposal to constant stress and stigmatization (Anderson & Williams, 1988). The concept of personality type has been variously defined by psychologists to refer to the characteristic pattern of thinking, teaching and acting. Type A individuals seem to be linked with stress and stigmatization while types behavour pattern seem to have little or no link with stress and stigmatization in personality type makes it imperative that proper intervention should be sought for through appropriate coping strategies to ensure stigma reduction and control of the spread of AIDS disease.
            On the other hand, Ptacek, Smith and Zanas (1992) saw gender as one of the demographic variables that has been severally implicated in the stress and HIV/AIDS coping literature. Generally, there has been conflicting evidence of the role of gender in coping with both stress arising from HIV/AIDS and HIV/AIDS stigmatization (Kurzban & Leary, 2001; Lee, Kochman & Sikkama, 2001).
Gender differences apply almost all life circumstance and influence attitudes, values, perceptions and coping strategies due to gender inequalities and natural tendencies. Hence, the vulnerability of any person to HIV/AIDS has been found to be related to the individual’s sex stereotyping (Clark, linder, Armisted & Austin, 2003). However, fear, avoidance and stigmatization among people living with HIV/AIDS seem to be reinforced due to gender differences concerning roles, perceptions and assessment of HIV/AIDS.
The vulnerability of men and women to HIV/AIDS seem to differ due to cultural, religions, political, economic and traditional factors operating in the society. All over the globe, there has been reported cases of acute impact of stigmatization on women because in many societies, women are erroneously perceived as the main transmitters of severally transmitted infections (STI’S) which may be referred to as “women” disease. In like manner, the traditional belief about sex, blood and other kinds of disease transmission encourage further stigmatization of women in relation to HIV/AIDS scourge (Bush stephens, 2006). Developmental issues relating to HIV/AIDS scourge may play significant roles in relation to HIV/AIDS  stigmatization.
Hence, in some African countries, women  suffer more stigmatization than men because white men are likely to be “excused” for the behaviour that resulted to their infection, women are stigmatized over the infection as inferior beings (Gilmore & Somerville, 1994).
Meanwhile, it has been severally implicated in the coping literature that there have been conflicting results on the role of gender in coping with stress related factors such as HIV/AIDS stigmatization (Stanton, Danoff-Burg, Cameron, & Ellis, 1994; Roos & Cohen, 1987). However, few emergency research show that men and women differ in their coping strategies due to differential abilities and socialization regarding such factors as HIV/AIDS stigmatization because gender and its values and norms are culturally and socially constructed during the process of socialization (Shaw, 1982; Eyo, 199; Stonex Neale, 1984). But, question on whether women or men adopt more adaptive or maladaptive coping strategies in coping with HIV/AIDS have not been answered. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the  role of  personality type and gender in coping with HIV/AIDS stigmatization. Hence, it is hypothesized that type A individuals living with HIV/AIDS will not differ significantly their coping strategies than type B individuals during HIV/AIDS stigmatization; and that males living with HIV/AIDS will not differ significantly from their female counterparts in their HIV/AIDS stigmatization coping strategies.

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