skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on December 1, 2022

Title: Experiences of COVID-19-related anti-Asian discrimination and affective reactions in a multiple race sample of U.S. young adults
Abstract Background Little remains known about both Asian and Asian American (A/AA) and non-Asian young adults’ experiences and affective reactions regarding COVID-19 anti-Asian discrimination. To our knowledge, this is the first study that explores the nature and impact of COVID-19 anti-Asian discrimination within a multi-racial sample. Methods This study uses qualitative open-ended responses from a sub-sample of Wave I of the COVID-19 Adult Resilience Experiences Study (CARES) data collected between March to September 2020. Thematic analysis was used to explore two open-ended questions: “Are there experiences we missed in the survey so far that you wish to describe?” and “What are your thoughts about the current social climate?” The data analysis for this study focused on 113 discrimination or racism-related comments. Results A total of 1331 young adults completed an online survey of which 611 provided comments; a multi-racial sample of 95 individuals (65.3% non-Asians, 24.7% A/AA) contributed 113 COVID-19 anti-Asian discrimination or racism-related comments. Two overarching themes were: types of discrimination (societal, interpersonal, intrapersonal) and affective reactions to discrimination (fear, anxiety/distress, hopelessness/depression, and avoidance). Not only did both A/AA and non-Asian participants report witnessing or hearing reports of anti-Asian discrimination, but both groups described having negative affective reactions to more » anti-Asian discrimination. Conclusion Anti-Asian discrimination in the face of COVID may be more widespread than initial reports indicate. Our finding suggests that anti-Asian discrimination is a societal illness that impacts all populations in the U.S. This calls for cross-racial coalitions and solidarity in the fight against discrimination and racism. « less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
2027553
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10322596
Journal Name:
BMC Public Health
Volume:
21
Issue:
1
ISSN:
1471-2458
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract Extreme heat is a major threat to human health worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic, with its complexity and global reach, created unprecedented challenges for public health and highlighted societal vulnerability to hazardous hot weather. In this study, we used data from a three-wave nationally representative survey of 3036 American adults to examine how the COVID-19 pandemic affected extreme heat vulnerability during the summer of 2020. We used mixed effects models to examine the roles of socio-demographic characteristics and pandemic-related factors in the distribution of negative heat effects and experiences across the United States. The survey findings show that over a quarter of the US population experienced heat-related symptoms during the summer of 2020. Mixed effects models demonstrate that among all socio-economic groups, those who were most vulnerable were women, those in low-income households, unemployed or on furlough, and people who identify as Hispanic or Latino or as other non-white census categories (including Asian, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, and multi-racial US residents). The study findings indicate that millions of people in the US had difficulty coping with or responding to extreme heat because of the direct and indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Limitedmore »access to cooling as well as COVID-19 related social isolation played a major role in adverse heat health effects. Geographically, the South and the West of the US stood out in terms of self-reported negative heat effects. Overall, the study suggests that the intersection of two health hazards—extreme heat and coronavirus SARS-CoV2—amplified existing systemic vulnerabilities and expanded the demographic range of people vulnerable to heat stress.« less
  2. OBJECTIVES: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has fueled xenophobia against Chinese Americans. We examined the rates of 6 types of COVID-19 racism and racial discrimination experienced by Chinese American parents and youth and the associations with their mental health. METHODS: We recruited a population-based sample of Chinese American families to participate in this self-reported survey study conducted from March 14, 2020, to May 31, 2020. Eligible parent participants identified as ethnically/racially Chinese, lived in the United States, and had a 4- to 18-year-old child; their eligible children were 10 to 18 years old. RESULTS: The sample included 543 Chinese American parents (mean [SD] age, 43.44 [6.47] years; 425 mothers [78.3%]), and their children (N = 230; mean [SD] age, 13.83 [2.53] years; 111 girls [48.3%]). Nearly half of parents and youth reported being directly targeted by COVID-19 racial discrimination online (parents: 172 [31.7%]; youth: 105 [45.7%]) and/or in person (parents: 276 [50.9%]; youth: 115 [50.2%]). A total of 417 (76.8%) parents and 176 (76.5%) youth reported at least 1 incident of COVID-19 vicarious racial discrimination online and/or in person (parents: 481 [88.5%]; youth: 211 [91.9%]). A total of 267 (49.1%) parents and 164 (71.1%) youth perceived health-related Sinophobia inmore »America, and 274 (50.4%) parents and 129 (56.0%) youth perceived media-perpetuated Sinophobia. Higher levels of parent- and youth-perceived racism and racial discrimination were associated with their poorer mental health. CONCLUSIONS: Health care professionals must attend to the racism-related experiences and mental health needs of Chinese Americans parents and their children throughout the COVID-19 pandemic via education and making appropriate mental health referrals.« less
  3. Introduction and Theoretical Frameworks Our study draws upon several theoretical foundations to investigate and explain the educational experiences of Black students majoring in ME, CpE, and EE: intersectionality, critical race theory, and community cultural wealth theory. Intersectionality explains how gender operates together with race, not independently, to produce multiple, overlapping forms of discrimination and social inequality (Crenshaw, 1989; Collins, 2013). Critical race theory recognizes the unique experiences of marginalized groups and strives to identify the micro- and macro-institutional sources of discrimination and prejudice (Delgado & Stefancic, 2001). Community cultural wealth integrates an asset-based perspective to our analysis of engineering education to assist in the identification of factors that contribute to the success of engineering students (Yosso, 2005). These three theoretical frameworks are buttressed by our use of Racial Identity Theory, which expands understanding about the significance and meaning associated with students’ sense of group membership. Sellers and colleagues (1997) introduced the Multidimensional Model of Racial Identity (MMRI), in which they indicated that racial identity refers to the “significance and meaning that African Americans place on race in defining themselves” (p. 19). The development of this model was based on the reality that individuals vary greatly in the extent to whichmore »they attach meaning to being a member of the Black racial group. Sellers et al. (1997) posited that there are four components of racial identity: 1. Racial salience: “the extent to which one’s race is a relevant part of one’s self-concept at a particular moment or in a particular situation” (p. 24). 2. Racial centrality: “the extent to which a person normatively defines himself or herself with regard to race” (p. 25). 3. Racial regard: “a person’s affective or evaluative judgment of his or her race in terms of positive-negative valence” (p. 26). This element consists of public regard and private regard. 4. Racial ideology: “composed of the individual’s beliefs, opinions and attitudes with respect to the way he or she feels that the members of the race should act” (p. 27). The resulting 56-item inventory, the Multidimensional Inventory of Black Identity (MIBI), provides a robust measure of Black identity that can be used across multiple contexts. Research Questions Our 3-year, mixed-method study of Black students in computer (CpE), electrical (EE) and mechanical engineering (ME) aims to identify institutional policies and practices that contribute to the retention and attrition of Black students in electrical, computer, and mechanical engineering. Our four study institutions include historically Black institutions as well as predominantly white institutions, all of which are in the top 15 nationally in the number of Black engineering graduates. We are using a transformative mixed-methods design to answer the following overarching research questions: 1. Why do Black men and women choose and persist in, or leave, EE, CpE, and ME? 2. What are the academic trajectories of Black men and women in EE, CpE, and ME? 3. In what way do these pathways vary by gender or institution? 4. What institutional policies and practices promote greater retention of Black engineering students? Methods This study of Black students in CpE, EE, and ME reports initial results from in-depth interviews at one HBCU and one PWI. We asked students about a variety of topics, including their sense of belonging on campus and in the major, experiences with discrimination, the impact of race on their experiences, and experiences with microaggressions. For this paper, we draw on two methodological approaches that allowed us to move beyond a traditional, linear approach to in-depth interviews, allowing for more diverse experiences and narratives to emerge. First, we used an identity circle to gain a better understanding of the relative importance to the participants of racial identity, as compared to other identities. The identity circle is a series of three concentric circles, surrounding an “inner core” representing one’s “core self.” Participants were asked to place various identities from a provided list that included demographic, family-related, and school-related identities on the identity circle to reflect the relative importance of the different identities to participants’ current engineering education experiences. Second, participants were asked to complete an 8-item survey which measured the “centrality” of racial identity as defined by Sellers et al. (1997). Following Enders’ (2018) reflection on the MMRI and Nigrescence Theory, we chose to use the measure of racial centrality as it is generally more stable across situations and best “describes the place race holds in the hierarchy of identities an individual possesses and answers the question ‘How important is race to me in my life?’” (p. 518). Participants completed the MIBI items at the end of the interview to allow us to learn more about the participants’ identification with their racial group, to avoid biasing their responses to the Identity Circle, and to avoid potentially creating a stereotype threat at the beginning of the interview. This paper focuses on the results of the MIBI survey and the identity circles to investigate whether these measures were correlated. Recognizing that Blackness (race) is not monolithic, we were interested in knowing the extent to which the participants considered their Black identity as central to their engineering education experiences. Combined with discussion about the identity circles, this approach allowed us to learn more about how other elements of identity may shape the participants’ educational experiences and outcomes and revealed possible differences in how participants may enact various points of their identity. Findings For this paper, we focus on the results for five HBCU students and 27 PWI students who completed the MIBI and identity circle. The overall MIBI average for HBCU students was 43 (out of a possible 56) and the overall MIBI scores ranged from 36-51; the overall MIBI average for the PWI students was 40; the overall MIBI scores for the PWI students ranged from 24-51. Twenty-one students placed race in the inner circle, indicating that race was central to their identity. Five placed race on the second, middle circle; three placed race on the third, outer circle. Three students did not place race on their identity circle. For our cross-case qualitative analysis, we will choose cases across the two institutions that represent low, medium and high MIBI scores and different ranges of centrality of race to identity, as expressed in the identity circles. Our final analysis will include descriptive quotes from these in-depth interviews to further elucidate the significance of race to the participants’ identities and engineering education experiences. The results will provide context for our larger study of a total of 60 Black students in engineering at our four study institutions. Theoretically, our study represents a new application of Racial Identity Theory and will provide a unique opportunity to apply the theories of intersectionality, critical race theory, and community cultural wealth theory. Methodologically, our findings provide insights into the utility of combining our two qualitative research tools, the MIBI centrality scale and the identity circle, to better understand the influence of race on the education experiences of Black students in engineering.« less
  4. Disease transmission is a fruitful domain in which to examine how scientific and folk theories interrelate, given laypeople’s access to multiple sources of information to explain events of personal significance. The current paper reports an in-depth survey of U.S. adults’ ( N = 238) causal reasoning about two viral illnesses: a novel, deadly disease that has massively disrupted everyone’s lives (COVID-19), and a familiar, innocuous disease that has essentially no serious consequences (the common cold). Participants received a series of closed-ended and open-ended questions probing their reasoning about disease transmission, with a focus on causal mechanisms underlying disease contraction, transmission, treatment, and prevention; non-visible (internal) biological processes; and ontological frameworks regarding what kinds of entities viruses are. We also assessed participants’ attitudes, such as their trust in scientific experts and willingness to be vaccinated. Results indicated complexity in people’s reasoning, consistent with the co-existence of multiple explanatory frameworks. An understanding of viral transmission and viral replication existed alongside folk theories, placeholder beliefs, and lack of differentiation between viral and non-viral disease. For example, roughly 40% of participants who explained illness in terms of the transmission of viruses also endorsed a non-viral folk theory, such as exposure to cold weather ormore »special foods as curative. Additionally, participants made use of competing modes of construal (biological, mechanical, and psychological) when explaining how viruses operate, such as framing the immune system response (biological) as cells trying to fight off the virus (psychological). Indeed, participants who displayed greater knowledge about viral transmission were significantly more likely to anthropomorphize bodily processes. Although comparisons of COVID-19 and the common cold revealed relatively few differences, the latter, more familiar disease elicited consistently lower levels of accuracy and greater reliance on folk theories. Moreover, for COVID-19 in particular, accuracy positively correlated with attitudes (trusting medical scientists and taking the disease more seriously), self-protective behaviors (such as social distancing and mask-wearing), and willingness to be vaccinated. For both diseases, self-assessed knowledge about the disease negatively predicted accuracy. The results are discussed in relation to challenges for formal models of explanatory reasoning.« less
  5. The wear and tear of adapting to chronic stressors such as racism and discrimination can have detrimental effects on mental and physical health. Here, we investigated the wider implications of everyday racism for relationship quality in an adult sample of 98 heterosexual African American couples. Participants reported on their experiences of racial discrimination and positive and negative affect for 21 consecutive evenings. Using dyadic analyses, we found that independently of age, gender, marital status, income, racial-discrimination frequency, neuroticism, and mean levels of affect, participants’ relationship quality was inversely associated with their partner’s negative affective reactivity to racial discrimination. Associations did not vary by gender, suggesting that the effects of affective reactivity were similar for men and women. These findings highlight the importance of a dyadic approach and call for further research examining the role of everyday racism as a key source of stress in the lives of African American couples.