Conflict Transformation, Stigma, and HIV-Preventive Structural Change

Robin Lin Miller, Sarah J. Reed, Vincent T. Francisco, Jonathan M. Ellen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Over the prior decade, structural change efforts have become an important component of community-based HIV prevention initiatives. However, these efforts may not succeed when structural change initiatives encounter political resistance or invoke conflicting values, which may be likely when changes are intended to benefit a stigmatized population. The current study sought to examine the impact of target population stigma on the ability of 13 community coalitions to achieve structural change objectives. Results indicated that coalitions working on behalf of highly stigmatized populations had to abandon objectives more often than did coalitions working for less stigmatized populations because of external opposition to coalition objectives and resultant internal conflict over goals. Those coalitions that were most successful in meeting external challenges used opposition and conflict as transformative occasions by targeting conflicts directly and attempting to neutralize oppositional groups or turn them into strategic allies; less successful coalitions working on behalf of stigmatized groups struggled to determine an appropriate response to opposition. The role of conflict transformation as a success strategy for working on behalf of stigmatized groups is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-392
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal of Community Psychology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Coalitions
  • Prevention
  • Stigma
  • Structural change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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