UL study finds disadvantaged communities stigmatised within health and social services Posted on February 21, 2014 by LP intern. A University of Limerick study has revealed significant stigmatisation of Limerick’s poorest residents. The study involved the analysis of twenty individual and group interviews with residents, community workers and statutory service providers in economically disadvantaged communities in Limerick. In the interviews all three groups recounted their experience of stigmatisation of Limerick’s disadvantaged regeneration communities.
The results of the study indicated that stigmatisation impacted negatively on experience of welfare and educational services and had an impact on the uptake of these services for residents. The interviews with the service providers endorsed the negative stereotypes that distinguish these communities as separate and anti-social. This division undermines the trust between service users and providers leading to residents not accessing the services available to them.
Study co-author, Professor Orla Muldoon, Department of Psychology, University of Limerick explains the significance of the report; “Stigmatisation of those from our most disadvantaged communities can be seen as a social curse. Instead of facilitating and helping those in most in need, services can become a site of tension and hostility. Tackling stigma will help develop a sense of shared identity and create more positive interactions between communities and their service providers.
”The study ‘Stigmatised Identity and Service Usage in Disadvantaged Communities: Residents’, Community Workers’ and Service Providers’ funded by the Irish Research Council was published in the international journal, Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology. The study was undertaken by Professor Orla Muldoon from the Centre for Social Issues Research, University of Limerick and Dr Niamh McNamara, University College Dublin, and , Queens University Belfast.