Punished for their Good Deeds: Stigmatization of AIDS Volunteers

Mark Snyder, Allen M. Omoto, A. Lauren Crain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


This research investigated the impact of AIDS-related stigma on the antecedents, experiences, and consequences stages of AIDS volunteerism. Coordinated cross-sectional and longitudinal field studies and laboratory analogs are reviewed and reveal that volunteers and nonvolunteers consider AIDS volunteerism more stigmatizing than other forms of volunteerism. Potential stigmatization also prevented nonvolunteers from helping an AIDS organization, whereas reports of actual stigmatization predicted AIDS volunteers' burnout from their work and hastened their decisions to quit. In addition, volunteers who experienced stigmatization relatively unexpectedly were less satisfied and more burned out than volunteers who expected to be stigmatized. Thus, beyond the usual costs of doing volunteer work (e.g., time, energy), stigmatization may be a social cost that is especially pronounced among AIDS volunteers and has the effect of punishing them for their good deeds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1175-1192
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1999


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