Anti-Asian Microaggressions in the Time of COVID-19: Impact on Coping, Stress, and Well-Being

Xiaodi Yan, Yi Zhu, Syed Ali Hussain, Mary Bresnahan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


An unanticipated outcome of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been increased Sinophobia directed toward Asian Americans. The present study used a mixed-methods design and investigated how 345 East Asian Americans responded to COVID-19-related microaggressions and how their responses affected stress and well-being. The qualitative data included 196 narratives describing anti-Asian microaggressions experienced by participants during COVID-19. Four themes emerged from narratives including nonverbal rejection responses, verbal rejection, physical assault, and exposure to aggression on the social media. Additionally, quantitative data collected participants’ responses to scales measuring microaggressions, personal resilience, social support, coping strategies (engagement and disengagement coping), stress, and psychological well-being. Path analysis showed that participants who reported more microaggressions experienced significantly more stress. Participants with more social support had better psychological well-being. Those with stronger personal resilience were more likely to use engagement coping. Even though engagement coping was associated with more stress, confronting aggressors was also associated with better psychological well-being compared to ignoring the threat (disengagement coping).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)248-258
Number of pages11
JournalAsian American Journal of Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 7 2022


  • Anti-asian microaggressions
  • Coping strategies
  • Covid-19
  • Discrimination narratives
  • Sinophobia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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