Representation of Adverse Childhood Experiences Linked with Lower Public Stigma Towards People Who Use Drugs

Public stigma towards people who use substances can impact people seeking support and treatment outcomes. It can also influence how public health policy is shaped and accepted.

Researchers have been interested in understanding how people appraise substance use and whether attitudes can be changed if they frame substance use in different ways.

In this study, the researchers investigated whether public stigma was affected when presented alongside details of childhood adversity.

Participants were asked to read one of eight randomly presented fictional cases of substance use. They were then asked to complete a survey that assessedd levels of stigmatising beliefs.

The study found that presentation of ACEs within the vignette was associated with lower stigmatising attitudes.

Although the researchers acknowledge the need for further research, they suggest the results are promising and may be used to inform future anti-stigma interventions.

Sumnall, H. R., Hamilton, I., Atkinson, A. M., Montgomery, C., & Gage, S. H. (2020). Representation of adverse childhood experiences is associated with lower public stigma towards people who use drugs: an exploratory experimental study. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 1-13.