Shame and stigma of contracting Covid-19 linked to less likelihood of reporting infection

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on March 25, 2021

Researchers from the University of Kent and Leeds Beckett University found that feelings of stigmatisation at the idea of contracting Covid-19 is linked to less likelihood of reporting infection to authorities and potential contacts.

They also observed lower compliance of social distancing in people who feel ashamed to admit that they have contracted coronavirus.

In contrast, people who trust their Government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and feel mutual solidarity are more likely to report Covid-19 contraction.

For the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, the researchers analysed data pooled from Italy, South Korea, and the United States.

The study revealed that in Italy and South Korea, individuals are also more likely to follow social distancing regulations if they trust their Government’s response to the pandemic. However, in the US, trust does not lead to social distancing compliance.

According to the researchers, this could be explained by the behaviour of the former administration that emphasized values of deference to authority, while signaling contempt for scientific advice and social distancing.

The study, led by Dr. Giovanni Travaglino (Kent) and Dr. Chanki Moon (Leeds Beckett), indicated the importance of cooperation and solidarity in explaining people’s compliance with the norms of social distancing.

Dr. Travaglino said, “Our research highlights the importance of managing the stigma associated with Covid-19, which may undermine authorities’ efforts to control it. Governments and decision-makers may achieve better transparency and compliance by focusing on the importance of social cohesion and trustworthiness in their attempts to tackle the pandemic and manage public responses.”

Published on March 25, 2021

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