Asians and Asian Americans’ experiences of racial discrimination during the COVID-19 pandemic: Impacts on health outcomes and the buffering role of social support.

Photo of asian woman holding a sign that says protect asian grandmothers, fathers, etc.
Journal Name
American Psychology Association
Journal Volume
Journal Issue
Page Count
Year Published
Author (Individual)
Lee, S., & Waters, S. F
Resource Type
Journal Article
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Reports of racially discriminatory behaviors toward Asians in the United States have surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study examined self-reported racial discrimination toward Asians and Asian Americans living in the United States in relation to four health outcomes: anxiety, depression, physical symptoms and sleep difficulties. The moderating role of social support was also examined. Via an online survey, participants across the country were asked to describe a specific instance of discrimination that had happened during the pandemic. Nearly 30% reported an increase in discrimination since the pandemic, and over 40% reported an increase in anxiety, depressive symptoms, and sleep difficulties. Social support significantly buffered the effect of discrimination on depressive symptoms and marginally buffered the effect on physical symptoms. Conventional content analysis was used to identify multiple themes. Results indicated that Asians have experienced elevated racial discrimination during the COVID-19 pandemic, including hate crimes, microaggressions, and vicarious discrimination, and these experiences are associated with poorer self-reported mental and physical health. 

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