Where did we get anger in us to those who fell ill with coronavirus?

Fear of the virus, acquiring almost superstitious forms, can lead to the rejection of people who were infected with. In society, a negative tendency is manifested socially stigmatized by those who are infected or in contact with patients. What prejudices underlie this phenomenon that it is fraught with dangers and how to get rid of such stigmatization, the psychologist Patrick Corrida explains the psychologist.

For a modern person who is accustomed to an active lifestyle, the threat that pandemia carries, and the need to sit at home is a frightening and even surrealist experience. Concirological theories are reinforced by confusion and reinforced news on the network, some of which cast doubt on reality. And it’s quite difficult to get used to reality itself.

Man is not a disease

The editor of the journal of the American Psychological Association “Stigma and Health”, the psychologist and researcher Patrick Corrigan believes: as for the issues of pandemia and stigmatization, we are in an unknown territory. This means that the phenomenon of a negative attitude, alienation and social stigma of the sick in such conditions by modern science has not been studied. He explores the issue and shares the assessment of the situation.

In his opinion, the general confusion becomes a nutrient medium for stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination. Features of the psyche give birth to us the need to understand events, especially threatening and unprecedented. Why is the pandemia of coronavirus struck humanity? What is the fault?

The obvious answer is the virus itself. We, as a society, can rally to combat the threat, trying to stop its distribution by isolation from each other.

The problem of stigmatization arises when a virus and a sick person are mixed in our minds. In this case, we are changing the question with “that the fault?”On” Who is to blame?”. More than 20 years of studies have shown that stigmatization as hanging social labels on people with certain diseases can cause the same harm as the disease itself.

Professor Corrigan talks about absurd examples of the spread of anxiety about coronavirus. For example, it was called “Chinese”, and this definition does not contribute to an understanding of the threat, but inflates the fire of ethnic fanaticism. In this, the researcher writes, the danger of stigmatization: such a term once after time connects the experience of pandemia with racism.

Socially branded victims of the virus

Who can suffer from the stigmatization of coronavirus? The most obvious victims are people with its symptoms or a positive test result. Sociologist Irving Hoffmann would say that because of the virus, their identification is “damaged”, “stained”, which, in the eyes of others, seemed to justify a prejudice against them. Family and a circle of dating will be added to the sick – they will also be subjected to stigmatization.

Researchers have determined that a social distance is one of the results of Stigma’s action. Socially branded, “spoiled” personalities, society avoids. A person can bypass as a lepered one, or to distance themselves psychologically.

Corrigan, exploring the problems of stigmatization of people with psychiatric diagnoses, writes that this can manifest itself in different fields. According to him, teachers can avoid a person with a “stigma” of certain diseases, employers do not hire, homeowners refuse to rent housing, religious communities may not take him into their ranks, and doctors can be neglected.

In the situation with coronavirus, this is superimposed on the real need to observe the distance in order to reduce the level of infection. Healthcare organizations are called upon not to approach other people by more than 1.5-2 meters. “The risk of stigma occurs when the distance from the virus is mixed with the distance from the person infected with him,” writes Corrigan.

In no case do not offer to ignore the recommendations for compliance with the social distance and recognizing the need for this measure to reduce the level of coronavirus, he calls to simultaneously remember the stigma that may spread to an infected person.

The dangers of stigmatization

So what to do with stigmatization during pandemia? First of all, Corrigan believes, you need to call a spade a spade. Admit that the problem is. Parks can undergo discrimination and disrespect, and it is as wrong as any form of racism, sexism and eijism. But the disease is not the same as the person infected with it, and it is important to separate one from the other.

Social branding of the sick harms them in three ways. Firstly, it is social stigmatization. Когда люди воспринимают заболевших как «испорченных», это может приводить к дискриминации в той или иной ее форме и причинять вред.

Secondly, it is self -amization. People who are infected or contacted with a virus learn stereotypes imposed by society and consider themselves “spoiled” or “dirty”. Not only is it difficult to fight the disease itself, people still have to be ashamed of themselves.

Thirdly, this is the avoidance of labels. Irving Hoffmann said that stigmatization is associated with an obvious and observed feature: skin color, if we are talking about racism, body structure with sexism, or, for example, gray hair with Aijism. However, in the case of diseases, everything is different, because they are hidden.

No one knows which of a hundred people gathered indoors-the carrier of the COVID-19, including, possibly,. Stigmatization arises when a label appears: “This is a max, it is infected”. And shortcuts most often appear in

connection with the experience of testing or treatment. “I just saw Max left the laboratory where they are handing over to the Coronavirus test. He must be infected!”

It is obvious that people will avoid the labels hang on them – which means they will probably evade testing or isolation with positive results.

How to change the situation?

In the scientific literature, you can find two approaches to a change in stigma: education and contact.


The number of myths about the disease decreases when people learn the facts about the methods of its transmission, forecasts and treatment. According to Corrigan, everyone can contribute, helping a general education in these issues. On official news sites, useful information about the disease is regularly published.

It is especially important not to maintain the spread of unverified, but often false information. There were many similar cases, and an attempt to combat the consequences of disinformation can lead to disputes and mutual insults – that is, the battle of opinions, and not the exchange of knowledge. Instead, Corrigan calls to share scientific data relating to the pandemic, and encourage readers to think.


In his opinion, this is the best way to smooth out negative sensations in a person who has been subjected to stigmatization. Studies show that the interaction between such people and society is the best way to eliminate the harmful consequences of stigma.

In the practice of Corrigan, there are many customers with mental illness, for whom interaction with others becomes the most effective way to replace prejudice and discrimination with ideas of honesty and respect. This process is most effective in case of communication with peers, people with close social status. Consequently, communication between those who are “marked” with coronavirus, and the public will help to remove the shameful stigma from the first and change the situation.

The patient can either describe his sensations, fears, fears and experiences in the process of illness, or talk about the disease, already recovering, rejoicing with sympathetic listeners or readers to his recovery. And the patient and recovered, he remains the same as everyone, a person, with dignity and the right to respect and accept.

In cases with other diseases, live contact is most effective. However, during quarantine, of course, it will be media and online. “Blogs and video from the first person, where people with Covid-19 tell the stories of infection, the course of illness and recovery, have a positive effect on public attitude and reduce stigmatization,” Corrigan believes. “Perhaps the video will have an even greater effect in real time, especially those where spectators themselves can observe the influence of the disease on the life of a particular person”.

The situation also has a positive effect that celebrities are not afraid to admit that they are infected. Some describe their feelings. This gives people a sense of ownership and reduces the stigma. Nevertheless, studies show that the words of stars have a lesser impact than interaction with the average and closer person – a colleague, neighbor or classmate.

After a pandemic

The campaign against Stigma should continue after the end of the pandemic, the expert is sure. In fact, a protracted consequence of the universal infection can be a negative attitude towards people who have ill -fried coronavirus. In an atmosphere of fear and confusion, they can remain branded in the eyes of society for a long time.

“Contact is the best way to deal with this,” Patrick Corrigan repeats. – After the pandemic, we must discard the ideas about the social distance that have prevailed by virtue of the circumstances and facilitate communication face to face. It is necessary to convene public meetings where people who have gone through the disease will talk about their experience and recovery. The greatest effect is achieved when they are with respect, sincerely welcome significant people, including those with certain authority “.

Hope and dignity are medicines that will help us cope with the pandemia. They will help to cope with the problem of stigmatization, which may arise in the future. “Let’s take care of its decision together, sharing these values,” says Professor Corrigan.

Where did we get anger in us to those who fell ill with coronavirus?

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