The stigma of being a long-term foster carer



Publication Details

Blythe, S. L., Jackson, D., Halcomb, E. J. & Wilkes, L. (2012). The stigma of being a long-term foster carer. Journal of Family Nursing, 18 (2), 234-260.


Stigma is a powerful social phenomenon with insidious health implications. Understanding stigma as it applies to various populations is imperative for nurses as it enables nurses to enhance individual patient care and nurses are well positioned to influence both social and health care policies which may exacerbate the experience of stigma. This article is a report of a study to explore the experiences of women who provide long-term foster care. Interviews were conducted with 20 women who provided long-term foster care in Australia. Data were coded according to the components of stigma described by Link and Phelan (2001). Findings reveal participants rejected the label of foster carer to avoid the negative stereotype. When unable to conceal their foster carer label, participants experienced social isolation and status loss. Moreover, participants felt marginalized and disempowered within the governing systems.

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