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Direct-to-consumer prescription drug websites for stigmatized illnesses
Unformatted Document Text:  Corrigan and Penn’s (1999) two strategies, education and contact, to provide an updated examination of the contents of DTC prescription drug websites. Attribution Theory and Recategorization Theory Two key theories provide the theoretical framework for this study: attribution theory and recategorization theory. First, attribution theory is useful to show how and why education can reduce stigma. This theory is based on people’s tendency to search for causal understanding of all events. Furthermore, in the case of stigmatized diseases, this theory can provide the framework for understanding why individuals seek the causes of a disease to determine the origin of the stigmatized condition. Therefore, the causes of a person’s disease will be determinant of other’s reaction toward the person with disease whether he or she is blamable or not (Weiner 1980). This perceived causality is explained by controllability, which is related to the concept of responsibility (Weiner 1986). Controllability can be explained through two concepts of attribution theory: onset controllability and offset controllability. The definition of onset controllability has perceptions of the stigmatized individual, whether the blame for contracting the disease lies with the person (Weiner 1980). When the cause of the disease is perceived to be controllable (onset controllability), persons with the condition are blamed, while when the onset of the disease is perceived to be uncontrollable, such as due to a biological factor, positive reactions such as pity, sympathy, and helpful behavior is elicited (Schmidt and Weiner 1988; Weiner, Perry, and Magnusson 1988). Therefore, uncontrollability attributions are the key educational component to reducing stigma. In the case of AIDS, Weiner, Perry, and Magnusson (1988) and Dooley (1995) examined the relationships between the perceived controllability of the onset of AIDS and the affective reactions of pity. Through manipulating the various scenarios that can cause 9

Authors: Kang, Hannah. and An, Soontae.
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Corrigan and Penn’s (1999) two strategies, education and contact, to provide an updated 
examination of the contents of DTC prescription drug websites.
Attribution Theory and Recategorization Theory
Two key theories provide the theoretical framework for this study: attribution theory and 
recategorization theory. First, attribution theory is useful to show how and why education can 
reduce stigma. This theory is based on people’s tendency to search for causal understanding of 
all events. Furthermore, in the case of stigmatized diseases, this theory can provide the 
framework for understanding why individuals seek the causes of a disease to determine the 
origin of the stigmatized condition.
 Therefore, the causes of a person’s disease will be 
determinant of other’s reaction toward the person with disease whether he or she is blamable or 
not (Weiner 1980). This perceived causality is explained by controllability, which is related to 
the concept of responsibility (Weiner 1986).
Controllability can be explained through two concepts of attribution theory: onset 
controllability and offset controllability. The definition of onset controllability has perceptions of 
the stigmatized individual, whether the blame for contracting the disease lies with the person 
(Weiner 1980). When the cause of the disease is perceived to be controllable (onset 
controllability), persons with the condition are blamed, while when the onset of the disease is 
perceived to be uncontrollable, such as due to a biological factor, positive reactions such as pity, 
sympathy, and helpful behavior is elicited (Schmidt and Weiner 1988; Weiner, Perry, and 
Magnusson 1988).  Therefore, uncontrollability attributions are the key educational component 
to reducing stigma. In the case of AIDS, Weiner, Perry, and Magnusson (1988) and Dooley 
(1995) examined the relationships between the perceived controllability of the onset of AIDS 
and the affective reactions of pity. Through manipulating the various scenarios that can cause 

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