COVID-19-related stigma and its sociodemographic correlates: a comparative study

Yuan Yuan, Yan Jie Zhao, Qing E. Zhang, Ling Zhang, Teris Cheung, Todd Jackson, Guo Qing Jiang, Yu Tao Xiang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is closely associated with physical and mental health problems; however, little is known about the severity of stigma caused by COVID-19 among its survivors. Thus, the aim of this study was to compare differences in stigma experiences of COVID-19 survivors versus healthy controls after the COVID-19 outbreak peak in China. Methods: This cross-sectional study comprised 154 COVID-19 survivors and 194 healthy controls recruited through consecutive and convenience sampling methods, respectively. COVID-19 related stigma was measured by the Social Impact Scale (SIS). Stigma differences between the two groups were compared with analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) and a generalized linear model (GLM) was used to identify independent correlates of COVID-19-related stigma in this study. Results: Compared with healthy controls, COVID-19 survivors reported more overall stigma (F(1,347) = 60.82, p < 0.001), and stigma in domains of social rejection (F(1,347) = 56.54, p < 0.001), financial insecurity (F(1,347) = 19.96, p < 0.001), internalized shame (F(1,347) = 71.40, p < 0.001) and social isolation (F(1,347) = 34.73, p < 0.001). Status as a COVID-19 survivor, having family members infected with COVID-19, being married, economic loss during the COVID-19 pandemic, and depressive symptoms were positively associated with higher overall stigma levels (all p values < 0.05). Conclusion: COVID-19-related stigma is commonly experienced among COVID-19 survivors even though the outbreak has been well-contained in China. Routine assessment of stigma experiences should be conducted on COVID-19 survivors and appropriate psychological assistance, public education, and anti-stigma campaigns and policies should be enforced to reduce stigma within this vulnerable subpopulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number54
JournalGlobalization and Health
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19 survivors
  • Stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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