The effect of inclusion on identity management decisions in the workplace : the roles of organizational support, anticipated stigma, and state psychological well-being
Keating, Robert Thomas
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Disclosure decisions are a central challenge for individuals managing a concealable stigmatized identity (e.g., psychological disability) in the workplace due to the costs (e.g., stigma) and benefits (e.g., receiving accommodations) associated with the decisions. Environmental aspects of the employing organization may help to reduce the burden of managing a stigmatized identity and promote disclosure. The current study used vignettes in an online, experimental design to test the hypothesis that intentions to disclose a concealable stigmatized identity would be more likely in inclusive organizations than non-inclusive organizations following a hypothetical disclosure scenario. It was also hypothesized that there would be an indirect effect of inclusion on disclosure through increased support and reduced stigma. Psychological outcomes associated with these decisions were also explored. Participants (N = 261) were recruited from Amazon's Mechanical Turk and identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, or as having a psychological disability or invisible physical disability. In general, a larger proportion of participants chose to reveal (and a smaller proportion chose to conceal) their identity in the inclusive condition than in the non-inclusive conditions; although, these differences did not have statistical significance. The indirect effect of inclusion on disclosure was significant through stigma but not support, indicating that differences in likelihood of revealing or concealing may be due, in part, to the negative effect inclusion had on anticipated stigma. Exploratory results showed that positive affect decreased as a result of not revealing, but any changes in stress, anxiety, or negative affect were not a function of disclosure decisions. Additionally, among those who chose to conceal, anxiety decreased relative to those who chose not to conceal only in the inclusion condition.