Experiences of COVID-19-related anti-Asian discrimination and affective reactions in a multiple race sample of U.S. young adults

Hyeouk Chris Hahm*, Casey D. Xavier Hall, Kana Tsurudome Garcia, Anna Cavallino, Yoonsook Ha, Yvette C. Cozier, Cindy Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

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 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1563
JournalBMC public health
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Anti-Asian discrimination
  • COVID-19
  • China virus
  • Discrimination
  • Racism
  • Xenophobia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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