Department of Sociology/Psychology
Faculty of Social Sciences, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria
Supportive interaction is what the persons with illness seek from spouse, relatives, friends and other members of society. Contrarily, leprosy and epilepsy are socially defined as disreputable ailments whose sufferers possess discreditable attributes. On the basis of this social construction of illness, the experience of sufferers becomes increasingly traumatic, not due to pain, impairment and disfigurement only, but the social devaluation and rejection which find expressions in an unbridgeable social gap between sufferers and previously intimate persons, role restrictions, loss of self respect, feelings of helplessness and despondency. The paper addresses the whole issue of stigmatization and its implications on symptom management and social functioning of the victim and proffers micro and macro options for coping with and ameliorating the stigma and its debilitating effects.