Sociodemographic and Behavioral Factors Associated With COVID-19 Stigmatizing Attitudes in the U.S.

Margaux M. Grivel, Sarah A. Lieff, Gabriella Y. Meltzer, Virginia W. Chang, Lawrence H. Yang, Don C.Des Jarlais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To control the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and prevent further verbal and physical discrimination against individuals affected by, or perceived to be responsible for, COVID-19, proactive efforts must be made to ameliorate stigmatizing attitudes. This study seeks to examine whether key sociobehavioral factors including news consumption and contact with Chinese individuals are associated with COVID-19 stigma as a first step to informing stigma interventions. Surveys were administered to N = 498non-representative national respondents in August 2020 via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and includedassessments of COVID-19 stigma, worry, knowledge, contact with COVID-19 and Chinese individuals, and preferred news source. Prevalence of stigmatizing beliefs was 65.46%. Odds of endorsing stigma were higher among males (OR = 1.77, 95% CI [1.07–2.93]) vs. females, Non-Hispanic Black (OR = 3.12, 95% CI [1.42–6.86]) and Hispanic (OR = 4.77, 95% CI [2.32–9.78]) vs. Non-Hispanic White individuals, and individuals with college degrees (OR = 3.41, 95% CI [1.94–5.99]) and more than college degrees (OR = 3.04, 95% CI [1.34–6.89]) vs. those with less than college degrees. Consumers (vs. non-consumers) of Fox News (OR = 4.43, 95% CI [2.52–7.80]) and social media (OR = 2.48, 95% CI [1.46–4.20]) had higher odds of endorsing stigma. Contact with Chinese individuals (OR = 0.50, 95% CI [0.25–1.00]) wasassociated with lower odds of endorsing stigma. These findings suggest that individuals of Non-HispanicBlack or Hispanic race/ethnic background, consumers of Fox News and social media, men, and individuals with college degrees or higher are groups that should be prioritized for anti-stigma intervention. Our finding that social contact with Chinese individuals is associated with decreased odds of stigma that provides initial support for the implementation of interventions based on contact with individuals of Chinese descent

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-379
Number of pages9
JournalStigma and Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021


  • COVID-19-related stigma
  • interpersonal contact
  • news consumption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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