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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 68-74

Social stigma and discrimination in Coronavirus Disease-2019 survivors and its changing trend: A longitudinal study at tertiary care center Gujarat, India

Department of Psychiatry, M.P. Shah Medical College, Jamnagar, Gujarat, India

Correspondence Address:
Rangdon Dor Sangma
No 2nd Floor, Trauma Building, Department of Psychiatry, MP Shah Medical College Jamnagar - 361 008, Gujarat
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/shb.shb_12_22

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Introduction: World Health Organization declared coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) as global pandemic on March 20, 2020. Highly contagious nature of this new virus and high propensity for human-to-human transmission led to various challenges, one of them is stigma and discrimination. This led to ill-treatment, devaluation of affected individuals, termination of employment, abandonment, and physical violence. The current study attempts to assess the magnitude of social stigma and discrimination among COVID-19 survivors. Methods: Longitudinal study was conducted among COVID-19 survivors from June 2020 to February 2021 at tertiary care center, Jamnagar, Gujarat, India. Participants were contacted through telephone, interview was conducted at 1 and 6 months, using pro forma containing demographic details, “Stigma questionnaire” and “Discrimination questionnaire.” Results: A total of 420 participants of age 18–60 years participated in the study. Participants experienced personalized stigma had concerns regarding disclosure of illness and public attitudes. Discrimination at their respective workplace was also observed. Stigma was statistically significant related to gender and geographical area (F = 3.879, P < 0.05, R2 = 0.45), while discrimination statistically significant related to geographical area (F = 2.407, P < 0.05, R2 = 0.028). The stigma and discrimination was still prevalent after 6 months; however, there was a reduction in overall stigmatization which was statistically significant (P < 0.05). Conclusion: The large cohort of participants faced significant social stigma and discrimination in terms of personalized stigma, negative self-image, and workplace discrimination. Increasing awareness, knowledge about illness, and availability of treatment facilities can contribute in lowering the stigma.

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