Socio-cultural correlates of self-reported experiences of discrimination related to COVID-19 in a culturally diverse sample of Canadian adults

Elsevier, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Volume 81, March 2021
Miconi D., Li Z.Y., Frounfelker R.L., Venkatesh V., Rousseau C.
Minorities and marginalized groups have increasingly become the target of discriminatory actions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Detailed information about the manifestation of COVID-related discrimination is required to develop preventive actions that are not stigmatizing for such groups. The present study investigates experiences of perceived discrimination related to COVID-19 and its socio-cultural correlates in a culturally diverse sample of adults in Quebec (Canada). An online survey was completed by 3273 Quebec residents (49 % 18−39 years old; 57 % female; 49 % White). We used multivariate binomial logistic regression models to assess prevalence of COVID-related discrimination and to investigate socio-cultural correlates of reasons and contexts of discrimination. COVID-related discrimination was reported by 16.58 % of participants. Non-white participants, health-care workers and younger participants were more likely to experience discrimination than White, unemployed and older participants, respectively. Discrimination was reported primarily in association with participants’ ethno-cultural group, age, occupation and physical health and in the context of public spaces. Participants of East-Asian descent and essential workers were more likely to report discrimination because of their ethnicity and occupation, respectively. Although young people experienced discrimination across more contexts, older participants were primarily discriminated in the context of grocery stores and because of their age. Our findings indicate that health communication actions informed by a social pedagogy approach should target public beliefs related to the association of COVID-19 with ethnicity, age and occupation, to minimize pandemic-related discrimination. Visible minorities, health-care workers and seniors should be protected and supported, especially in public spaces.