You can’t change what you don’t understand. Our research sheds light on how, when, and why stigma manifests, so that organizations and advocates can create informed change. We use in-depth mixed-methods research to analyze how stigma shows up in the media, communities, and individual experiences. Sea Change has developed multiple studies and tools that shed light on how stigma affects real people in their everyday lives.

At its core, our research is focused on addressing knotty questions at the intersection of culture, sex, and reproduction. Our past and current research projects include:

We develop new research tools to better understand stigma, and we build focused networks of researchers and practitioners who can collaborate to shift culture. We also share best practices for stigma reduction with researchers and advocates through trainings, publications, and collaboration.

what we do:

  • QUALITATVE RESEARCH

    We understand complex problems through stories and experiences

  • QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH

    We track and measure trends in culture and stigma across place, community, and topic

  • TOOLS FOR THE FIELD

    We develop and share simple-to-use research tools that advocates and researchers can use to measure and understand stigma and culture change

  • TRAINING

    We share what we learn in ways that are  fun, easily understood, and actionable

Reframing young parenting & pregnancy norms

Sea Change seeks to alleviate the stigma that young parents experience and reduce entrenched societal prejudice against them. In 2014, Sea Changed worked with community groups, advocates, and researchers to document the stigma young parents experience. In this project, Sea Changed listened closely to leaders in this field to document their perspectives and their goals for change. After sharing our findings in a white paper, we designed and carried out the first ever national survey study of young parents to develop a baseline understanding of how this population experiences and manages stigma.
Sea Change also develops research that looks at overall pregnancy norms. In one project, we advised researchers at the University of Alabama on the development of the first ever scale to measure attitudes toward abortion, adoption and single parenthood. In focus groups and surveys, young women described a strong stigma associated with people who choose adoption and abortion in response to an unintended pregnancy. This research study continues to inform ongoing work in Alabama to improve family planning support and counseling for young women.

Sea Change's Cutting Edge Research

International Collaboration on Abortion Stigma

In 2012, we worked with our colleagues at IPAS and researchers and advocates from 11 countries to refine a conceptual framework for abortion stigma and set a future learning agenda to guide research and programmatic efforts to address abortion stigma.

Evidence-Based Approaches to Reduce Abortion Stigma

In 2013, we co-authored a white paper along with colleagues from ANSIRH and Ibis Reproductive Health aimed at summarizing the literature on abortion stigma and potential interventions.

Increasing Scholarship on Abortion Stigma

In 2014, Kate Cockrill was an editor on a special issue of Women and Health focused on abortion stigma. The issue included four new original research studies and three commentaries aimed at conceptualizing and measuring abortion stigma

Validating an Abortion Stigma Scale

Sea Change has been involved in developing multiple scales and surveys to measure stigma. The Individual Level Abortion Stigma scale, developed in 2014, is currently being used in over 20 different studies around the world.

Conceptualizing Young Parents Stigma

In 2015, Sea Change worked with young parents advocates and researchers to develop a white paper and conceptual model of the stigma young parents experience. Our paper, From Severe Stigma to Powerful Resilience:  Youth Sexuality, Parenting and the Power of Structural Support, shares the current thinking and research backing for combatting stigmatization of young parents.

Documenting Abortion Stigma in the News

In 2017, Sea Change worked with Berkeley Media Studies Group to conduct a study exploring how abortion stigma manifests in the news media.

reducing abortion stigma

In 2012, we worked with our colleagues at IPAS and researchers and advocates from 11 countries to refine a conceptual framework for abortion stigma and set a future learning agenda to guide research and programmatic efforts to address abortion stigma.

white paper on abortion stigma

In 2013, we co-authored a white paper along with colleagues from ANSIRH and Ibis Reproductive Health aimed at summarizing the literature on abortion stigma and potential interventions.

academic journal on stigma

In 2014 Kate Cockrill was an editor on a special issue of Women and Health focused on abortion stigma.

Theoretical paper and scale

Kate Cockrill led the first study that showed a positive relationship between first person storytelling and abortion attitudes and since then, we've seen a rapid increase in storytelling projects in our field.

replicated success

Sea Change has been involved in developing multiple scales and surveys to measure stigma. The Individual Level Abortion Stigma scale is currently being used in over 20 different studies around the world.

stigma in the news

Sea Change worked with Berkeley Media Studies Group to conduct a study exploring how abortion stigma manifests in the news media.

We Also Do...

Strategy
See the Big Picture
Design
Turn Empathy into Action
Research
Add Light, Eliminate Shadows
Evaluation
Measure Impact

strategy

See the Big Picture
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Design

Turn Empathy into Action
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evaluation

Measure Impact
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trainings

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strategy

See the Big Picture

Design

Create Solutions

Evaluation

Measure Your Impact

Workshops

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