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Prejudice and Its Causes during the Outbreak of COVID-19

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DOI: 10.23977/ICEIPI2020031


Rongtan Sun

Corresponding Author

Rongtan Sun


The In 2020, a new type of disease – called COVID-19, spread across China and the globe in general. Because of its high contagious and mortality, COVID-19 would potentially trigger people’s psychological response as a protective mechanism, including a high degree of prejudice and discrimination towards those from areas with a high infection rate. This phenomenon is described in the theory of behavior immune system, which is believed to arise from the evolution of human beings. Prejudice, though biologically might reduce the risk of being infected, sets obstacles to the community, and breaks its unity. The current research aims to evaluate, in the context of Chinese society, the degree of prejudice towards the people from the center of the pandemic (i.e., Wuhan residents) and further investigate the underlying mechanisms. Through extensive surveys and a set of regression analyses, we found that the approval of government policy – but not the perceived vulnerability to the disease - had a significant effect on the degree of prejudice. The implications, limitations, and future directions were also discussed.


Disease, psychology protective mechanism

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