Discrimination by health care workers versus discrimination by others: countervailing forces on HCV treatment intentions

Brener, Loren, Horwitz, Robyn, von Hippel, Courtney, Bryant, Joanne and Treloar, Carla (2015) Discrimination by health care workers versus discrimination by others: countervailing forces on HCV treatment intentions. Psychology, Health and Medicine, 20 2: 148-153. doi:10.1080/13548506.2014.923103

Author Brener, Loren
Horwitz, Robyn
von Hippel, Courtney
Bryant, Joanne
Treloar, Carla
Title Discrimination by health care workers versus discrimination by others: countervailing forces on HCV treatment intentions
Journal name Psychology, Health and Medicine   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1354-8506
Publication date 2015
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/13548506.2014.923103
Open Access Status
Volume 20
Issue 2
Start page 148
End page 153
Total pages 6
Place of publication Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom
Publisher Routledge
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Abstract Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major public health burden. Despite recent advances in HCV treatment, uptake remains low, particularly amongst people who inject drugs. HCV-related stigma and discrimination are common, especially within the health care sector. This research examines a more nuanced approach for how HCV-related stigma and discrimination impacts treatment access and uptake. Based on a social identity framework, we explore whether perceived HCV-related discrimination is associated with attempts to remove the stigma of being HCV-positive via HCV treatment intentions. Based on the results of prior research it was also hypothesised that the source of discrimination (health care workers versus others), and whether the discrimination is perceived to be directed to oneself or to the HCV-positive group, will differentially impact treatment intentions. The sample consisted of 416 people living with HCV in New South Wales, Australia, who acquired HCV from injecting drugs. Participants were asked about their experiences of perceived discrimination directed towards themselves versus their HCV-positive group and perceived discrimination within the health care sector. Findings indicate that discrimination towards the self is a more powerful indicator of treatment intentions than discrimination aimed at the HCV-positive group. This finding is consistent with social identity theory suggesting that people from low status groups are motivated to change their stigmatised status when it is possible to do so. The source of the perceived discrimination also matters, however, as participants who report experiencing discrimination from health workers have lowered intentions to engage with HCV treatment in the future. In combination, the results indicate that while perceived discrimination is commonly understood to act as a barrier to treatment uptake, the relationship is actually more complex than previously conceptualised.
Keyword Social identity theory
Perceived discrimination
Injecting drug use
Hepatitis C
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online: 03 Jun 2014

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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