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ERIC Number: EJ809105
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Aug
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0016-9013
An Ethnographic Study of Stigma and Ageism in Residential Care or Assisted Living
Dobbs, Debra; Eckert, J. Kevin; Rubinstein, Bob; Keimig, Lynn; Clark, Leanne; Frankowski, Ann Christine; Zimmerman, Sheryl
Gerontologist, v48 n4 p517-526 Aug 2008
Purpose: This study explored aspects of stigmatization for older adults who live in residential care or assisted living (RC-AL) communities and what these settings have done to address stigma. Design and Methods: We used ethnography and other qualitative data-gathering and analytic techniques to gather data from 309 participants (residents, family and staff) from six RC-AL settings in Maryland. We entered the transcript data into Atlas.ti 5.0. We analyzed the data by using grounded theory techniques for emergent themes. Results: Four themes emerged that relate to stigma in RC-AL: (a) ageism in long-term care; (b) stigma as related to disease and illness; (c) sociocultural aspects of stigma; and (d) RC-AL as a stigmatizing setting. Some strategies used in RC-AL settings to combat stigma include family member advocacy on behalf of stigmatized residents, assertion of resident autonomy, and administrator awareness of potential stigmatization. Implications: Findings suggest that changes could be made to the structure as well as the process of care delivery to minimize the occurrence of stigma in RC-AL settings. Structural changes include an examination of how best, given the resident case mix, to accommodate care for persons with dementia (e.g., separate units or integrated care); processes of care include staff recognition of resident preferences and strengths, rather than their limitations.
Gerontological Society of America. 1030 15th Street NW Suite 250, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 202-842-1275; Fax: 202-842-1150; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Maryland