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Research Interests

It can be challenging to navigate the complexities of our social world. For people with stigmatized or minoritized identities - identities that are devalued and treated as "lesser" in society - many aspects of our social world are inherently exclusionary and at times hostile. 


My research broadly centers on identity, stigma, and inclusion. Through two main lines of work, I aim to improve our understanding of factors that encourage or prevent the participation of people with stigmatized identities in all areas of society. My research focuses on 1) identity cues and fostering inclusivity, and 2) the experiences and consequences of stigmatization. My work seeks to improve our understanding of stigmatization and its consequences, and to identify ways to foster identity safety for stigmatized groups.

I have conducted correlational, experimental, and quasi-experimental studies to collect both quantitative and qualitative data. I have recruited participants from survey recruitment platforms, classes, student subject pools, social media, and organizations, and have used a variety of creative research designs and measures in my work (e.g., avatar generation, website/profile evaluation). 

Research: Welcome

Identity Cues and Inclusion

People with stigmatized identities often navigate social environments where they have historically faced exclusion and discrimination. My research aims to improve our understanding of identity cues, which signal safety or threat to people with stigmatized identities, and their impact on different stigmatized groups. As knowledge of identity cues grows, we can identify ways to minimize identity threats and foster identity safety and inclusion for stigmatized groups. 

Example findings:

  • Identity safety cues (e.g., gender pronouns, anti-discrimination policy) in course materials benefit students' impressions of their instructor, their sense of belonging, and their engagement (Howansky et al., 2022; Maimon et al., 2023)

  • White male and female psychology instructors who include identity safety cues in their syllabi can bolster their students' expected engagement, belonging in psychology, and impressions of the instructor (Maimon et al., 2023)

  • People with stigmatized identities expect disagreeable people to be more discriminatory and hierarchy endorsing than agreeable and low conscientious people (Maimon et al., 2023)

Pride Parade photo with sign "you belong, I belong, we all belong"
Rocks with words on them including "Black Lives Matter" and "Pride, love is love"
Research Topics

Experiences and Consequences of Stigmatization

People with stigmatized identities face discrimination and a range of consequences for their health, education, careers, and relationships due to their stigmatization. My research examines the unique experiences and varied consequences of stigma and discrimination for different identity groups (e.g., women, LGBTQIA+ people, racial/ethnic minorities). My work also examine predictors of attitudes toward stigmatized groups and ways to improve intergroup dynamics to foster safety and inclusion for stigmatized groups.

Example findings:

  • More frequent experiences of bisexual identity denial (a form of discrimination) are associated with concerns about belong, depressive symptoms, and beliefs that people stereotype bisexual people and view bisexuality as an illegitimate identity (Maimon et al., 2019)

  • Gay and lesbian people’s bisexual identity denial beliefs are partly influenced by beliefs that bisexual people have straight-passing privilege and by perceptions that bisexuality is not a real identity (Maimon et al., in prep)

  • Support from a male romantic partner following women's experiences of sexism (perpetuated outside of the relationship) relates to satisfaction within the romantic relationship (Maimon & Sanchez, 2022)

Image by Nicole Baster
Young Gay Couple
Image by Lindsey LaMont
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