UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Anti-Asian discrimination and the Asian-white mental health gap during COVID-19 Wu, Cary; Qian, Yue; Wilkes, Rima


The COVID-19 pandemic has led to widespread mental health issues. In this article, we consider how, due to a spike in anti-Asian hate crimes across the country, Asians might face a disproportionate mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Analyzing data from the University of Southern California’s Center for Economic and Social Research Understanding Coronavirus in America survey, we report several major findings. First, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Asians (Asian Americans in particular) have experienced higher levels of mental disorders than whites. Second, Asian Americans and Asian immigrants are about twice as likely as whites to report having encountered instances of COVID-19-related acute discrimination. Third, experiences of COVID-19-associated discrimination have led to increased mental disorders for all Americans. Finally, COVID-19-related acute discrimination partially explains the disproportionate mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Asians. In conclusion, we highlight the importance of tackling hate, violence, and discrimination so as to address the disproportionate mental health impatcs of COVID-19 on minority populations.

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