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Holding a stigmatizing attitude at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak: A cross-sectional survey

Smith, LE; Potts, HWW; Amlȏt, R; Fear, NT; Michie, S; Rubin, GJ; (2021) Holding a stigmatizing attitude at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak: A cross-sectional survey. British Journal of Health Psychology 10.1111/bjhp.12564. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To identify the prevalence of a stigmatizing attitude towards people of Chinese origin at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in the UK population and investigate factors associated with holding the stigmatizing attitude. DESIGN: Online cross-sectional survey conducted 10-13 February 2020 (n = 2006, people aged 16 years or over and living in the UK). METHODS: We asked participants to what extent they agreed it was best to avoid areas heavily populated by Chinese people because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Survey materials also asked about: worry, perceived risk, knowledge, information receipt, perception of government response to COVID-19, and personal characteristics. We ran binary logistic regressions to investigate associations between holding a stigmatizing attitude, personal characteristics, and psychological and contextual factors. RESULTS: 26.1% people (95% CI 24.2-28.0%, n = 524/2006) agreed it was best to avoid areas heavily populated by Chinese people. Holding a stigmatizing attitude was associated with greater worry about COVID-19, greater perceived risk of COVID-19, and poorer knowledge about COVID-19. CONCLUSIONS: At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a large percentage of the UK public endorsed avoiding areas in the UK heavily populated by people of Chinese origin. This attitude was associated with greater worry about, and perceived risk of, the COVID-19 outbreak as well as poorer knowledge about COVID-19. At the start of future novel infectious disease outbreaks, proactive communications from official sources should provide context and facts to reduce uncertainty and challenge stigmatizing attitudes, to minimize harms to affected communities.

Type: Article
Title: Holding a stigmatizing attitude at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak: A cross-sectional survey
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/bjhp.12564
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1111/bjhp.12564
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: COVID-19, discrimination, infectious disease outbreak, stigma, worry
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Health Informatics
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Health Informatics > CHIME
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10136317
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