Frontiers in Psychology
Stigmatization associated with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is expected to be a complex issue and to extend into the later phases of the pandemic, which impairs social cohesion and relevant individuals' well-being. Identifying contributing factors and learning their roles in the stigmatization process may help tackle the problem. This study quantitatively assessed the severity of stigmatization against three different groups of people: people from major COVID-19 outbreak sites, those who had been quarantined, and healthcare workers; explored the factors associated with stigmatization within the frameworks of self-categorization theory and core social motives; and proposed solutions to resolve stigma. The cross-sectional online survey was carried out between April 21 and May 7, 2020, using a convenience sample, which yielded 1,388 valid responses. Employing data analysis methods like multivariate linear regression and moderation analysis, this study yields some main findings: (1) those from major COVID-19 outbreak sites received the highest level of stigma; (2) factors most closely associated with stigmatization, in descending order, are objectification and epidemic proximity in an autonomic aspect and fear of contracting COVID-19 in a controllable aspect; and (3) superordinate categorization is a buffering moderator in objectification-stigmatization relationship. These findings are important for further understanding COVID-19-related stigma, and they can be utilized to develop strategies to fight against relevant discrimination and bias. Specifically, reinforcing superordinate categorization by cultivating common in-group identity, such as volunteering and donating for containment of the pandemic, could reduce objectification and, thus, alleviate stigma.
Original Publication Citation
Chen, Y., Jin, J., Zhang, X., Zhang, Q., Dong, W., & Chen, C. (2021). Reducing objectification could tackle stigma in the COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence from China. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, Article 664422, 1-13. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.664422
Chen, Youli; Jin, Jiahui; Zhang, Xiangyang; Zhang, Qi; Dong, Weizhen; and Chen, Chun, "Reducing Objectification Could Tackle Stigma in the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from China" (2021). Community & Environmental Health Faculty Publications. 115.