Stigma as framed on YouTube: Effects of personal experiences videos on students’ beliefs about medicalizing intersex

Hegarty, P.; Smith, A. and Bogan-Carey, T. (2019). Stigma as framed on YouTube: Effects of personal experiences videos on students’ beliefs about medicalizing intersex. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 49(3) pp. 133–144.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jasp.12570

Abstract

People with physical intersex characteristics can be subject to medical interventions that risk human rights to bodily integrity and self-determination. Proponents and opponents of medicalization use personal narrative videos on YouTube to frame intersex as a stigma best understood through a medical or social identity frame. 99 psychology students watched one of two YouTube videos with either a medical or social identity frame, or participated in a comparison group who watched no video. Participants extracted the videos’ medical or social identity framing in their own words. The social identity video increased participants’ sense that medicine was more harmful and less beneficial, and the medical video decreased participants’ sense that medicine was harmful. Although the videos aimed at bringing about social understanding of intersex people, neither video impacted stigmatizing beliefs about intersex people as a group. Rather, effects of the videos on beliefs about harms of medicalization were moderated by two stigma measures; social distance and gender binary beliefs. Medical intervention on intersex has been justified, in part, on grounds that stigma is inevitable. Whilst intersex stigma has rarely been empirically examined, the present study shows that people with less propensity to stigmatize see less benefit from medicalizing intersex traits and are more open to learning few framings from personal experience videos.

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