Comprehensive analysis of social stigma of ındividuals with substance use disorder in Turkey in the context of Erving Goffman’s stigma theory

Şamar B., Taş M., Kayın M., Ünübol B.

Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/15332640.2023.2176394
  • Journal Name: Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, ASSIA, IBZ Online, CINAHL, Criminal Justice Abstracts, EBSCO Education Source, Education Abstracts, Educational research abstracts (ERA), International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, MEDLINE, PAIS International, Psycinfo, Public Affairs Index, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts, Violence & Abuse Abstracts
  • Keywords: Erving Goffman, ıdentity, ındividuals with addiction, Social stigmatization, stigma in communication, Turkey
  • Istanbul Gelisim University Affiliated: Yes


Goffman defines stigma as a disgrace and social outcast/disqualification. Individuals with substance disorder are exposed to stigma at certain periods of their lives. Stigma particularly affects their thoughts, behaviors, and treatment processes, as well as their social life and identity perception. This paper examines the effects of social stigma experienced by individuals with substance disorder in Turkey and its reflections on social life in terms of Goffman’s stigmatization theory. In this regard, studies examining the social stigmatization of individuals with addictions and social perceptions and attributes toward these individuals in Turkey were analyzed. This analysis suggests that socio-demographic and cultural factors play a significant role in stigmatization, that society has negative perception and representations toward addicts, that stigmatized addicts are likely to avoid interactions with “normals” and are often stigmatized by the media, colleagues, and health professionals, and that stigma develops/creates “an addicted identity.”. This paper suggests the need for robust social policies that would aim to minimize stigmatizing attitudes and misconceptions toward individuals with addiction, ensure access to effective treatment, fulfill their social functioning, and integrate them into society should be implemented.