How COVID-related discrimination, racial and ethnic identity affect Asian Americans' mental health?

Raised of $715 Goal
Ended on 10/07/20
Campaign Ended
  • $40
  • 6%
  • Finished
    on 10/07/20

About This Project

As COVID-19 has spread across the U.S., Asian and Asian Americans have been experiencing intensified discriminatory remarks and hate crimes. This study aims to examine 1) the longitudinal relation between discrimination connected to COVID-19 and mental health, 2) use a novel measure to examine whether and how racial/ethnic identity (REI) moderates the association between discrimination and mental health among Asian and Asian Americans.

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What is the context of this research?

As COVID-19 has spread across the U.S., Asian Americans have been experiencing intensified discriminatory remarks and hate crimes. For example, over a 8-week period, the STOP AAPI HATE reporting center has received nearly 1,900 reports of COVID-19 related discrimination from Asian Americans across the country. Racial discrimination is detrimental to the mental health of racial and ethnic minorities. Evidence also suggests that the impact of racial discrimination on mental health could be long-term. At this critical time, we must understand how Asian Americans are affected by and deal with racial discrimination during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to inform later recovery efforts or interventions.

What is the significance of this project?

Previous empirical research has examined various dimensions of REI as moderators; however, the effects of REI on the discrimination-health link are complex. Existing studies do not support a uniformly positive effect, partly due to the variation in the conceptualization and measurement of REI.

In addition to using well-validated quantitative scales in our surveys, this study seeks to identify ways REI may mitigate or exacerbate the psychological consequences of perceived discrimination over time using a narrative identity approach. Not only we are studying the long-term impact of COVID-19 related discrimination, but we also use a mixed-methods design (both surveys and interviews) to collect Asian American's voices and narratives.

What are the goals of the project?

This study aims to 1) examine the longitudinal relation between racial discrimination connected to COVID-19 and mental health, 2) investigate whether REI moderates the association between racial discrimination and mental health, and 3) elucidate specific features or mechanisms of REI that either intensify or moderate the discrimination-health link.

These findings can inform psychologists, families, and policymakers of practices, future interventions, or programs. Findings from this study will not only expand the current knowledge of discrimination and health but also have significant implications both in times of crisis and longer-term.


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All money will be used directly to pay participants. We plan to have 3 waves of data collection over the course of 6 months (now to December 2020). We are hoping to recruit at least 300 participants between the age of 18-30 across the country.

We have secured $4,500 to pay for Wave 1 expenses, which include paying all participants who complete the survey and the interview $15 (300 x $15 = $4,500).

Now we are fundraising for funds to pay our participants for Wave 2. One of out 10 participants who completed the Wave 2 survey will receive $20 (32 x $20 = $640).

For longitudinal research, the cost is usually higher, as we are hoping participants to complete surveys at all time points.

Endorsed by

Increased racial/ethnic discrimination is one of many troubling outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic. This outstanding scientist will explore the impact of pandemic-related discrimination on Asian American youths in this important study.

Project Timeline

We have launched the first wave of our study in the second week of July. Currently, we are conducting virtual interviews with all of our participants (around 300 interviews).

Around September/October, we will launch Wave 2 survey, and December/January will be Wave 3.

Data analysis will take place in early 2021, with the goal of completing it by May 2021.

Aug 30, 2020

Complete data collection for Wave 1 (both surveys and interviews)

Sep 07, 2020

Project Launched

Oct 15, 2020

Start transcribing interviews 

Oct 30, 2020

Complete data collection for Wave 2 (follow-up survey)

Jan 30, 2021

Complete data collection for Wave 3 (follow-up survey)

Meet the Team

Pauline Ho
Pauline Ho
PhD Candidate


University of Wisconsin-Madison
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Fiona Lee
Fiona Lee
Lead Undergraduate Intern


University of Wisconsin-Madison
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Team Bio

We have a strong and diverse team of graduate and undergraduate students who are passionate about this topic and excited to carry out this work!

Pauline Ho

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with an interest in identity development in adolescence and emerging adulthood. I am broadly interested in identity development and its impact on adolescent health and well-being. Feel free to visit my personal website to know more about my work.

I am an Asian American who was born in Vietnam. I moved to the United States when I was 12. Not only that I am a first-generation college student, but I am also the first person in my family to pursue a Ph.D. In 2017, I was one of the Who's Who in the Asian American Communities - Leaders and Legend Honorees. You can read more about my personal journey and the award here.

Fiona Lee

I am a senior-year undergraduate student in University of Wisconsin-Madison, double-majoring in Psychology and Computer Science. I was born and grew up in Taiwan, and came to the United States for college education. With experiences and cultural background in Asia, I am interested in Asian Americans' life story, and would like to know how Asian cultures and identities interact with life experiences in America, as well as their impacts on individual development.

During the past three years in college, I have been part of some psychology research and handled both qualitative and quantitative data, in which I have acquired skills of interviewing, data collection, and survey analysis. After graduating from college, I plan to pursue PhD in psychology field, hoping to make contribution to education and learning ability of people of all ages.

Additional Information

We have secured some financial support from various donors (see our lab note) to carry out Wave 1 of the study. We need additional funding to do Wave 2.

Project Backers

  • 4Backers
  • 6%Funded
  • $40Total Donations
  • $10.00Average Donation
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