Labeling theory is a social theory where behaviors are taken to be deviant because society perceives that they are. The society is known to attach some behavior and attitude to an individual. Members of the society are able to distinguish between behaviors that are deviant and those that are not. Teenagers are more likely to be affected by labeling than adult members of society. They are most likely to be affected by stigma because of the development stage they are.
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They are in a stage that is challenging as it is a stage associated with identity fluctuation. Other factors at this stage include peer influence and changes in their physical beings. At this stage, teenagers are struggling with identity issues so that they are recognized in society. This is a pivotal issue that teenagers take it seriously. Teenagers are developing a stable and steady sense of sense. Teenagers are, therefore, not likely to come out well when they are labeled negatively.
Teenagers are known to associate people with psychiatric conditions to be dangerous. This will, therefore, affect the way they perceive labeling. If they are labeled negatively, they tend to take this to be a dangerous notion (Cohen, Mannarino, and Deblinger 823).
There is another cause of teenagers being hard to come out of stigmatization, and that is familiarity. Most teenagers at this stage in their development have not encountered many individuals who have a peculiar behavior. The more they encounter, the more they get affected by the condition. It is, therefore, likely to affect the way they will come out of the condition. The worst thing is that teenagers get the worst stigma from other teenagers and friends than from strangers.
Since these are the people whom they interact with most of the time, then they tend to be affected by their sentiments. One example is that of psychiatric teenagers who tend to regard their situation as irreversible and that it is a dangerous situation for their lives.
Society views negative stigma as dangerous and they tend to avoid associating the people with peculiar behavior with suspicion. The society takes negative stigma to be a vice and should be avoided as much as possible. They tend to associate the people with this attitude to be failures who have failed to follow the rules and principles that have been set for them. This is the reason as to why measures should be taken to ensure that stigmatized individuals have their own positive views about life.
There are ways that have been researched and found to be effective in fighting stigma among teenagers. One of the most influential ones is that of interaction between a stigmatized victim and a non-stigmatized victim. This is against the stereotype that the stigmatized victim has but this action will help the non-stigmatized person to reduce their attitude and behaviors towards the stigmatized individual. By interaction and constant contact with these two groups of individuals, the attitudes and behaviors are evened (Butzloff, and Hooley 828).
Another approach towards this is by public awareness so that teenagers are taught how to handle their situation. This way they will feel they are not left alone. They need to be encouraged and told that they are not alone. This way they will feel they are being taken care of by the society will feel part of the community. Organizations towards managing stigmatization should also be set up so that teenagers are taught about living positive lives. This way they will take their situations to be positive (Connor-Greene 284).
Butzloff, Robert, and John, Hooley. “Expressed Emotion and Psychiatric Relapse: A Meta-Analysis.” Archives of General Psychiatry 55.1 (2008): 547-552. Print.
Cohen, Joseph, Adrian, Mannarino, and Eliot, Deblinger. Treating Trauma and Traumatic Grief in Children and Adolescents, New York: The Guilford Press, 2007. Print.
Connor-Greene, Philip. “Interdisciplinary Critical Inquiry: Teaching About the Social Construction of Madness.” Teaching of Psychology 33.1 (2006): 6-13. Print.