American Sociological Association

Stigmatization of War Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Stereotyping and Social Distance Findings

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects a significant portion of the US population, but there remains limited information on public responses to affected individuals. Diagnosed mental illnesses can lead to negative stereotyping by the public, who can then socially exclude or otherwise discriminate. This paper presents results of an experiment (N = 830) that assessed the extent to which workers with PTSD labels—either resulting from an auto accident or wartime military service—evoked negative stereotypes in a workplace scenario and social distance from study participants. Results demonstrated that PTSD from wartime service evoked perceptions of dangerousness and incompetence (similar to other severe mental illness conditions) but did not evoke worse perceptions of assertiveness (a requisite managerial trait). The condition also led to levels of social exclusion similar to some other mental health labels. These findings provide insight into the context of stereotyping and social distance for PTSD relative to other conditions.


Crosby Hipes and Darren Gemoets





Starting Page


Ending Page