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In the other, participants were presented with fictional scenarios that either involved concealing or revealing their stigmatised identity.
Stigma' also encompasses a significant range of qualitatively different responses to leprosy which, in turn, have different ramifications for those so stigmatised, but which tend to get flattened out by grouping them together within an undifferentiated category.
The fact that many of those I worked with went begging for their income, an occupation some have argued is more stigmatised than leprosy itself (5,6)--also had a significant impact on how others reacted to them.
argue, for example, that other actors than external 'stigmatisers' are involved in the stigmatising process, including the peer group, the wider social network, family members and doctors of those who become stigmatised.
The boundaries between stigmatisers and stigmatised are also more blurred than a dichotomy between the two might suggest.
In some cases, the stigmatised and stigmatisers might be one and the same group of people.
The methodological point to be made here, then, is that research questions, and the more detailed interview questions that emerge out of them, need to be structured in such a way as to avoid a radical distinction between those who stigmatise and those who are stigmatised if they are to tell us anything worthwhile.
As Goffman (3) recognised, leprosy, like other stigmatised diseases, could also become a useful hook on which all manner of other failings could be hung.
Is she going to be stigmatised for the rest of her life?
Andrew Smith, lecturer in clinical microbiology at Glasgow University, and adviser to the British Dental Association, said: "This family must not be stigmatised.