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Reference group theory posits that people attempt to identify themselves with groups that are esteemed in order to enhance their sense of self-worth. However, it is not uncommon that actors may find themselves being identified with, or identifying with, stigmatized groups or categories. In order to avoid the personally pejorative implications of these associations, these actors often engage in various strategies that take a form similar to accounts which attempt to neutralize possible stigma. Two fundamental normalizations, disidentification and deflected stigma are presented and compared to previous articulations in the literature of stigma management.



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