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dc.contributor.authorDowney, Stephanie Nicole
dc.description.abstractScholars have been interested in understanding the experiences of individuals with invisible stigmatized identities for decades. Theory suggests a high degree of time and effort is expended when one chooses to conceal a stigmatized identity from others. At work this can have major implications, potentially leading to decreases in positive experiences at work. Although invisible stigma has been a popular topic among researchers, in reality, those who suffer from chronic illness have been largely overlooked or at the very least lumped in with other stigmatized groups. This research elevates the relatively high proportion of the population who lives with invisible chronic illness by treating it as a separate and unique identity. Using the stigma disclosure model of Clair, Beatty & Maclean (2005) as a framework, I developed and empirically tested a model for disclosure of chronic illness in the workplace. I expected that individual characteristics would lead to disclosure, and this relationship would be strengthened by a supportive workplace context. Subsequently, one’s decision to disclose was expected to lead to enhanced workplace wellbeing and health outcomes. I also sought to answer an overarching research question to understand the impact that varying levels of concealability (sometimes-concealable vs. fully-concealable) had on the disclosure process as a whole. Survey data were collected from 246 working adults who self-reported having a medically diagnosed chronic illness. The study’s participants were recruited using Mturk and snowball sampling methods. Results revealed that disclosure was not directly related to any outcome variables. To address this concern, I deployed a set of post-hoc analyses to explore alternative explanations for the benefits of disclosure. Results suggested that levels of illness concealability played a role in the disclosure process. Further, those who are diagnosed after career entry were more likely to disclose their illness at work. And, finally co-worker support was found to be a meaningful link between disclosure and workplace wellbeing and health outcomes. Limitations and future research opportunities are discussed. Overall, researchers and practitioners should understand how to support our chronically ill employees so they can continue to work and maintain healthy working lives.
dc.subjectChronic illness
dc.subjectInvisible stigma
dc.subjectDisclosure model
dc.titleSick of hiding
dc.title.alternativeexploring the antecedents, moderators, and outcomes of disclosing an invisible chronic illness at work
dc.description.advisorKecia Thomas
dc.description.committeeKecia Thomas
dc.description.committeeMichelle vanDellen
dc.description.committeeMalissa Clark

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