Stigma management strategy effectiveness in procuring job protected leave
[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] This experiment uses a 2x2x2 experimental design to assess the influence that type of appearance-related surgery (reconstructive or cosmetic), stigma management strategy (accepting or avoiding), and gender (male or female) have on participants' likelihood to grant an employee one weeks' worth of job-protected leave. This study used a combined theoretical lens of Stigma Management Communication (SMC; Meisenbach, 2010) and Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA; Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975) to guide predictions on the decision-making process of participants. While type of surgery (reconstructive or cosmetic) and stigma management strategy (accepting or avoiding) had no influence on participants' likelihood to grant unpaid leave, participants in reconstructive surgery conditions were significantly more likely to grant paid leave to requestors than participants in cosmetic surgery conditions. Similarly, while neither the gender of the requestor nor the gender of the participant had significant influence on participant decisions, the gender of the participant was significantly related to other factors within the study, such that female participants had significantly higher acceptance of cosmetic surgery, more positive attitudes toward people with disabilities, and a greater likelihood of knowing someone who had cosmetic surgery than men. Stigma management strategy did influence some variables within the study, such that women in reconstructive conditions perceived requestors using the "avoiding" stigma management strategy to be significantly more masculine than requestors who used the "accepting" stigma management strategy. Practical and theoretical implications of this study are discussed.
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