Marla Munro, PhD student in Counseling Psychology at the University of Houston, discusses the results of a recent study looking at how stigma is uniquely experienced by people with rare diseases.

As Ms. Munro explains, the study used a qualitative approach to analyze survey responses regarding the challenges of living with a rare disease. The study included the responses of 384 people with 178 distinct rare diseases.

Overall, three themes emerged: structurally enacted stigma (e.g., stigma within the healthcare system or in the workplace); interpersonally enacted stigma (e.g., insufficient social support); and felt stigma (e.g., internalized negative beliefs).

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