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date: 28 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter summarizes research on relationships between group processes and health outcomes. It focuses on the two major concepts in sociology’s group processes tradition—power and status—and proposes that stigma represents another important group process. In considering the concepts in isolation, research indicates that being low in power puts individuals at greater risk for negative health outcomes in a number of ways, that high status protects people from negative health outcomes, and that stigma leads to a number of well-established negative health consequences. The chapter presents a preliminary model in which power and status mutually influence each other, power differences are accompanied by stigmatization, and stigma causes status loss, with the connections between the concepts having various potential implications for health outcomes. The chapter proposes that the ability of experimental approaches to isolate the processes of power, status, and stigma provides fruitful opportunities for research on health.

Keywords: power, status, stigma, health, social exchange, group processes

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