COVID-19 related stress has been found to be correlated with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other mental health problems (Kira et al., 2020). On top of this already stressful time, things have been particularly hard for Asian Americans burdened with the additional consequences of COVID-19 related prejudice on top of general COVID-19 related stress (Chen et al., 2020; Tessler et al., 2020). Specifically, anti-Asian sentiments have increased with the rise of the pandemic (Chen et al., 2020; Tessler et al., 2020). This is because the United States has a long history of anti-Asian sentiments, particularly due to the view of Asians being foreign entities, and therefore different from the American culture (Chen et al., 2020; Fong, 1965; Tessler et al., 2020). Since a large amount of the COVID-19 pandemic had been dedicated to discussing the origins of the virus, it has been easy for many Americans to associate Asians with the disease (Tessler et al., 2020) which has been exacerbated by former president Trump and many news sources using this language (e.g., “Chinese Virus”).
Although there have been many studies that have looked at the mental health consequences of COVID-19 related discrimination on Asians in America (Misra et al., 2020; Yang et al., 2020; Kira et al., 2020; Yu et al., 2020), there have been no studies directly looking at the consequences of COVID-19 related discrimination on Asian-Americans’ sense of belonging in the U.S. and if this is impacted by the framing of messages about COVID-19 (again, COVID-19 versus “Chinese Virus” framing). The goal of my study is to examine the negative consequences this wording has on Asian-Americans. My study will not only access whether this racist language can negatively impact the perceived acceptance of Asian-Americans in American society, but also examine whether viewing racist phrases can lead to a change in trust in the U.S. government, U.S. media, and other races. Specifically, I will present participants with a flier describing statistics during the COVID-19 pandemic and the flier will be manipulated to use the words, “Chinese Virus” or “COVID-19” when referring to the virus. I predict that Asian American participants who are shown the “Chinese Virus” flier will report greater perceived discrimination in their everyday lives, lower acceptance in American society, and a greater need to conform and assimilate to American culture.