Four Fordham GSS faculty members have published research exploring the sociodemographic predictors for concern regarding COVID-19 transmission, and how these factors interact with the identities of others.
Assistant Professor Sameena Azhar, Ph.D.; Assistant Professor Rahbel Rahman, Ph.D., Associate Professor Laura Wernick, Ph.D.; and Professor Tina Maschi, Ph.D., all served as co-authors on the study, titled “Race, masks, residency and concern regarding COVID-19 transmission”. The research was published in the Journal of Community Psychology.
Five hundred and sixty-eight US-based individuals participated in a digital survey to conduct the research. Respondents would indicate their level of COVID-19 concern after seeing a series of images with short vignettes of masked and unmasked individuals of different racial/ethnic backgrounds.
Using a linear mixed effects model, we found that regardless of the race of the image being presented in the vignette, concern regarding COVID-19 transmission was associated with respondents’ older age (b = 0.029, p < 0.001), residing in NYC (b = 0.556, p = 0.009), being heterosexual (b = 1.075, p < 0.001), having higher levels of education, that is, completion of a Bachelor’s degree (b = 1.10, p = 0.033) or graduate degree (b = 1.78, p < 0.001), and the person in the vignette being unmasked (b = 0.822, p < 0.001). Asian respondents were more likely than White respondents to be concerned regarding COVID-19. Individuals who self-reported themselves to be at high risk for COVID-19 were more likely to be concerned about COVID-19 over those who considered themselves to be low risk. These findings highlight the importance of acknowledging interactions between race, mask status, and residency in predicting COVID-19 concern.
Looking ahead, the study’s findings could potentially be used in the design of future public health policy and programs:
Taken together, these results highlight the importance of acknowledging interactions between race, mask status, and residency in predicting the degree of concern regarding COVID-19 transmission. These findings may be useful in the design of future public health policies and programs for emerging outbreaks in infectious disease.