How Cultural, Personality, and Gender Differences Affect Stigma Toward Use of Substances

  • Aidan Hooper Kwantlen Polytechnic University
  • Adrianne Campbell KPU
Keywords: substance use, stigma, culture, personality, legality, heroin, cocaine, alcohol, marijuana, pharmaceuticals, drugs


While a large amount of research on drug stigma exists, that research focus primarily on people who have major problems with substance use. Little research exists on the stigma that is faced by individuals who use substances recreationally. We believe that this is a critically under-investigated area, as it can act as a middle ground before people potentially develop addictions or substance use problems. Our research investigates what stigma people may hold towards those who use substances recreationally. 129 participants from KPU answered questions pertaining to their cultural orientation personality and their views on people who use substances, with a total of seven different substances, both legal and illegal, being mentioned. A regression analysis was then conducted to see if certain cultural orientations, personality traits, or gender influenced their stigmatizing views towards those who use substances. Our results indicated that cultural orientation, personality, and gender had little to no affect on perceived stigma, however the legality or severity of the drug did affect peoples perceived stigma. Our findings contribute to the knowledge of how stigmatization towards those who use substances can be affected, where those who use harder substances are more highly stigmatized.

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