WASHINGTON — The American Psychological Association joins with prominent health groups such as the World Health Organization in condemning the use of language linking the coronavirus with China or a specific region within China (e.g., “Chinese virus,” “Wuhan virus”). Such language tends to promote bias and xenophobia, which can have damaging health effects on Asian Americans and other minorities.
“Decades of research show discrimination is associated with poorer health and mental health among LGBTQ, Asian American, African American, American Indian, Native Alaskan, Muslim American and Latinx populations,” said APA President Sandra L. Shullman, PhD. “Stigmatized groups are particularly vulnerable during epidemics and pandemics — and it can put them and others at increased risk. That’s because stigma can lead people to hide symptoms of illness and refrain from seeking medical care to avoid discrimination.”
She noted an increasing number of news reports document instances of stereotyping, harassment and bullying directed at people perceived to be of Asian descent following the spread of the new coronavirus.