OppNet Request for Applications: Basic Sociobehavioral Research on Stigma

OppNet’s 2nd FY2013 RFA: Basic Sociobehavioral Research on Mechanisms of Stigma

Application due: August 2, 2013, by 5:00 p.m. local time of applicant organization

Letter of intent due: July 2, 2013

Although not required or binding, an intent letter allows NIH review staff to estimate the number and themes associated with planning this RFA’s peer review process.

The purpose of this NIH Opportunity Network (OppNet) request for applications is to support projects that elucidate mechanisms underlying stigma that are relevant across health conditions or stigmatized statuses. This request encourages revision applications to incorporate basic research on behavioral and social mechanisms underlying stigma into active R01 research projects. For this initiative, projects may focus on stigma processes and mechanisms from the perspective of stigmatized individuals or groups and/or of individuals or groups holding stigmatizing beliefs. Projects may examine stigma in the context of specific health conditions; however, the focus of the work must be on the underlying mechanisms of stigma rather than on condition-specific manifestations of stigma.


OppNet intends to fund approximately 6-7 awards, corresponding to a total of approximately $1.0 million in fiscal year 2014. An additional goal is to encourage applied stigma researchers to incorporate mechanistic components into their research and for b-BSSR investigators to incorporate stigma into studies of related phenomena.

Revision applications for basic social and behavioral research on the social, cultural, biological, and psychological mechanisms of stigma (R01: RFA-MD-13-005)


NIH has funded a large body of research on stigma. Much of this research, however, has focused on manifestations of stigma related to specific diseases, conditions, or populations (e.g., the unique features of stigma associated with HIV/AIDS or mental illness). This focus may prevent understanding the underlying psychological and physiological mechanisms that drive the development of stigmatizing attitudes and the experience of stigma and obscure important commonalities or differences across stigmatized health conditions and other stigmatized statuses, such as those associated with race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religious affiliation.

This research gap poses many challenges to understand stigma and to develop effective interventions to prevent or reduce the experience of stigma or buffer against its effects. Without knowledge of shared underlying features of the development of stigmatizing attitudes or the experiencing of a stigmatized identity, future intervention models or strategies may not fully address the complex psychological and physiological underpinnings of stigma.

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