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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Everyday discrimination, daily affect, and physical symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic Ong, Qiao Hui Lydia


Objective: Abundant evidence has linked everyday discrimination with health risks. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has increased exposure to discrimination (e.g., based on age and race), it is important to understand the day-to-day implications of discrimination experiences with well-being. Furthermore, daily positive events were examined as a moderator due to their potential for mitigating the associations between everyday discrimination and well-being. Methods: From March to August 2020, 1,212 participants aged 18-91 in the U.S. and Canada (84% women, 75% White) completed surveys for seven consecutive evenings about everyday discrimination, positive events, physical health symptoms, and positive and negative affect. Data were analyzed using multilevel models and controlled for sociodemographic factors. Results: Everyday discrimination was reported on 9.3% of days when in-person or remote social interactions occurred. Within-persons, positive affect was lower and negative affect and physical symptoms were higher on days when discrimination occurred vs. on days without discrimination. Positive events mitigated the within-person association between everyday discrimination and same-day negative affect, but not for positive affect or physical symptoms. Age was the most frequently reported reason for perceived everyday discrimination. Age-based discrimination predicted poorer same-day affect (but not same-day physical symptoms), and these associations were not buffered by positive events. Conclusions: Everyday discrimination was related to lower daily positive affect and higher negative affect and physical symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study provides initial evidence that daily positive events partially offset the increased negative affect associated with same-day discrimination, although this effect did not extend to age-based discrimination.

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