hero image
Valerie Earnshaw - University of Delaware. Newark, DE, US

Valerie Earnshaw

Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Sciences | University of Delaware


Prof. Earnshaw examines associations between stigma and health inequities.






loading image loading image


Dr. Valerie Earnshaw on Researching and Addressing Stigma with #NIHHEAL Intentionally Ever After with guest Dr. Valerie Earnshaw What is Stigma? Valerie A. Earnshaw, PhD - May 19, 2022 HIV Center Grand Rounds




Valerie Earnshaw's research focuses on understanding and addressing associations between stigma and health inequities across the lifespan. She aims to contribute to knowledge of the mechanisms whereby stigma undermines health outcomes as well as interventions to reduce stigma and improve the wellbeing of stigmatized populations.

Industry Expertise (2)

Health and Wellness

Mental Health Care

Areas of Expertise (5)

Health Inequities

Health Outcomes

HIV Stigma

AIDS Stigma

Stigmatized Conditions‎

Answers (1)

How does stigma impact individuals struggling with opioid addiction? 

View Answer >

People in recovery from opioid use disorder often struggle with decisions to tell others about their past substance use, treatment, and/or recovery. Although disclosures that go well can lead to social support that is helpful for recovery, disclosures that go poorly can lead to stigma that can harm recovery.

Media Appearances (5)

Sex, Drugs & Science

Podcast  online

Interviewing your favorite sex and drugs scientists about what they study and why. Each week features an interview with a scientist studying topics such as: pornography, opioids, HIV, harm reduction, and other topics. Co-hosted by Valerie Earnshaw and Carly Hill with help from the UD Stigma Lab. Follow @sexdrugsscience on Instagram for updates.

view more

Coronavirus pandemic: How to help senior citizens

NBC News  online


"Like all people, seniors are vulnerable to seeing and believing misinformation about COVID-19 on the internet and their social media feeds,” says Valerie Earnshaw, a social psychologist and assistant professor of human development and education at the University of Delaware. “We know that people who believe more misinformation are less likely to follow public health recommendations to protect themselves and others from this virus.”

view more

Don't Let Fear of Covid-19 Turn into Stigma

Harvard Business Review  online


Human evolution has wired us to stigmatized sick people. But that’s dangerous. During the current pandemic, shunning Covid-19 survivors will exacerbate mental health issues. It also will contribute to the spread of the disease as mildly ill patients will be reluctant to admit they are sick. We need leaders and celebrities to normalize the disease, corporate leaders to make clear that a company’s diversity values extend to Covid-19 patients, and managers to make sure there is no stigma around being sick at work. Finally, we all need to reach out to make social contact with people who have been sick or have close friends and family who are sick. Pandemics remind us of how connected we all are. Our shared vulnerability to this virus is a source of solidarity.

view more

Bullied kids more likely to use painkillers

Reuters  online


“It’s impossible to know, based on this study alone, whether bullying led to more health problems and subsequent pain medication use or (if) youth with more health problems experience more bullying,” said Valerie Earnshaw, a researcher in human development and family sciences at the University of Delaware in Newark.

view more

Bullied in 5th grade, prone to drug abuse by high school

Medical Xpress  online


"Our study suggests that it's important to take peer victimization seriously," said study co-author Valerie Earnshaw. She's an assistant professor in human development and family studies at the University of Delaware.

view more

Articles (5)

“I want the doctors to know that I am as bright as a candle”: Experiences with and Hopes for Doctor Interactions Among Malaysian Key Populations and People Living with HIV

AIDS and Behavior

2023 Stigma in healthcare settings is a pernicious barrier to HIV prevention and treatment in contexts with strong HIV-related structural stigma. Previous work has documented substantial stigma towards key populations and people living with HIV (PLWH) among Malaysian doctors. The perspectives of Malaysian key populations and PLWH, however, remain understudied. In 2021, 34 Malaysian participants representing key populations and PLWH engaged in a photovoice study designed to qualitatively explore their experiences with and hopes for doctor interactions.

view more

Acceptability and feasibility of online, asynchronous photovoice with key populations and people living with HIV

AIDS and Behavior

2023 Photovoice is an action-oriented qualitative method involving photography and story-telling. Although photovoice yields a powerful form of data that can be leveraged for research, intervention, and advocacy, it has arguably been underutilized within HIV research. Online, asynchronous photovoice methods represent a promising alternative to traditional in-person methods, yet their acceptability and feasibility with key populations and people living with HIV (PLWH) have yet to be explored. The current study describes the methods and evaluation of an online, asynchronous photovoice project conducted with 34 members of key populations and PLWH in Malaysia in 2021.

view more

Impart: findings from a prison‐based model of HIV assisted partner notification in Indonesia

Journal of the International AIDS Society

2023 Introduction Assisted partner notification (APN) safely and effectively increases partner awareness of HIV exposure, testing and case identification in community settings. Nonetheless, it has not been specifically developed or evaluated for use in prison settings where people with HIV often are diagnosed and may have difficulty contacting or otherwise notifying partners. We developed Impart, a prison‐based APN model, and evaluated its efficacy in Indonesia to increase partner notification and HIV testing.

view more

Treatment System Adaptations during War: Lessons from Ukrainian Addiction Treatment Providers

Substance Use & Misuse

2023 Background: The war in Ukraine has posed significant challenges to the healthcare system. This paper draws upon expert consultations, held between December 2022 and February 2023, focused on HIV/AIDS, addiction, and mental health service delivery during the first year of this war, and following the Global Mental Health Humanitarian Coalition panel discussion in May 2022.

view more

Multilevel Resilience and HIV Virologic Suppression Among African American/Black Adults in the Southeastern United States

Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

2023 Objective To assess overall and by neighborhood risk environments whether multilevel resilience resources were associated with HIV virologic suppression among African American/Black adults in the Southeastern United States.

view more

Accomplishments (4)

Early Career Award, Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest, American Psychological Association (professional)


Emerging Leader, Psychology and AIDS Distinguished Leadership Award, Committee on Psychology and AIDS, American Psychological Association (professional)


Early-Stage Investigator Lecture, NIH Office of Disease Prevention (professional)


Visiting Senior Lecturer, Centre of Excellence for Research in AIDS (CERiA), Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya (professional)


Education (3)

University of Connecticut: PhD, Social Psychology 2011

University of Connecticut: MA, Social Psychology 2009

Pennsylvania State University: BA, Psychology 2006

Affiliations (6)

  • American Psychological Association
  • Association for Psychological Science
  • Social Personality and Health Network
  • Society of Behavioral Medicine
  • Society for Personality and Social Psychology
  • Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues

Languages (1)

  • English

Event Appearances (5)

Communicating about the monkeypox outbreak: Lessons from the social and behavioral sciences

(2022) Societal Experts Action Network of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine  Virtual

Stigma and Substance Use Disorders

(2022) Delaware Substance Abuse and Mental Health State Opioid Response and Recovery Conference  Wilmington, DE

HIV and Substance Use Stigma

(2022) Mental Health and Disparities Core Speaker Series, Center for HIV and Research in Mental Health, University of Miami  Virtual

Reflections on the Patient Journey

(2022) Addiction Policy Forum’s webinar on Understanding the Patient Journey through Treatment and Recovery  Virtual

Substance use disorder and HIV stigma: Key concepts, findings, and intervention strategies

(2022) HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University  Virtual