Message framing to reduce stigma and increase support for policies to improve the wellbeing of people with prior drug convictions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Individuals with drug convictions are at heightened risk of poor health, due in part to punitive public policies. This study tests the effects of message frames on: (1) public stigma towards individuals with felony drug convictions and (2) support for four policies in the United States (U.S.) affecting social determinants of health: mandatory minimum sentencing laws, ‘ban-the-box’ employment laws, and restrictions to supplemental nutrition and public housing programs. Methods: A randomized experiment (n = 3,758) was conducted in April 2018 using a nationally representative online survey panel in the U.S. Participants were randomized to a no-exposure arm or one of nine exposure arms combining: (1) a description of the consequences of incarceration and community reentry framed in one of three ways: a public safety issue, a social justice issue or having an impact on the children of incarcerated individuals, (2) a narrative description of an individual released from prison, and (3) a picture depicting the race of the narrative subject. Logistic regression was used to assess effects of the frames. Results: Social justice and the impact on children framing lowered social distance measures and increased support for ban-the-box laws. Conclusion: These findings can inform the development of communication strategies to reduce stigma and advocacy efforts to support the elimination of punitive polices towards individuals with drug convictions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102643
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Volume76
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2020

Keywords

  • Criminal justice
  • Messaging
  • Policy
  • Stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy

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