Understanding the Social Stigma of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: From Theory to Interventions

Sylvia Roozen*, Sarah E. Stutterheim, Arjan E. R. Bos, Gerjo Kok, Leopold M. G. Curfs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can lead to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). FASD is a spectrum of structural, functional, and neurodevelopmental problems with often lifelong implications, afecting communities worldwide. It is a leading preventable form of intellectual disabilities and therefore warrants efective prevention approaches. However, well-intended FASD prevention can increase stigmatization of individuals with FASD, women who consume or have consumed alcohol during pregnancy, and non-biological parents and guardians of individuals with FASD. This narrative review surveyed the literature on stigmatization related to FASD. Public stigma appears to be the most common form of stigma studied. Less is known about FASD-related self-stigma, stigma by association, and structural stigma. Accordingly, the current literature on FASD-related stigma does not appear to provide sufficient guidance for efectively reducing FASD-related stigma. However, lessons can be learned from other related health topics and the use of a systematic approach for the development of health promotion programs, namely Intervention Mapping.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalFoundations of Science
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 May 2020


  • Stigma
  • Pregnancy
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
  • Prevention
  • Alcohol


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