Akour A, AlMuhaissen SA, Nusair MB, Al-Tammemi AB, Mahmoud NN, Jalouqa S, Alrawashdeh MN
SN Soc Sci 1 (9) 240 [2021-09-27; online 2021-09-27]
Stigmatization towards COVID-19 patients can lead to negative outcomes like social exclusion and bullying, and it may hinder the willingness of people to undergo testing. This study aimed to measure and explore the perception of stigmatization and bullying towards COVID-19 patients in Jordan. This was a web-based cross-sectional survey. Participants were recruited from social media platforms employing a snowball convenience sampling. The perception of bullying, beliefs regarding social consequences of infection, views on measures towards violators of patients' privacy, and how to reduce the stigma were assessed by self-reported measures. 397 participants returned completed questionnaires. The majority of respondents believed that COVID-19 patients in Jordan are getting bullied (n = 255, 64.3%) and over 80% believed that people enjoy sharing identities, or news about COVID-19 patients. Although most respondents had adequate knowledge regarding transmission/prevention of COVID-19, they believed that all or some of the COVID-19 patients practiced something wrong to get infected (n = 358, 90.2%). Moreover, 86.9% of respondents reported that people in Jordan were crossing their lines with bullying behaviors towards COVID-19 patients. However, these negative views would not discourage most respondents to get tested and follow the government's instructions if they or any of their acquaintances were suspected to be infected. Our study sheds the light on a high degree of stigma and bullying of COVID-19 patients during the early stage of the pandemic in Jordan. Hence, there is a need to develop and implement effective anti-stigma/anti-bullying campaigns that refute the misperception, raise public knowledge about COVID-19, and spread encouraging messages.