Asians have faced intensifying racial discrimination and blame for the COVID-19 pandemic. This study describes the experiences of lifetime and COVID-19 related discrimination among U.S. Asian immigrant parents during the COVID-19 pandemic. We test the association between discrimination experiences and parental concerns regarding children’s academic performance, physical health, and socio-emotional development.
The cross-sectional analyses relied on data from the Pandemic Resilience in Asian Immigrants Study of Experiences Study which examines the pandemic and parenting experiences among U.S. Korean or Chinese immigrant parents with children 18 years and younger. Participants were recruited through social media, email listservs, and word of mouth. Multiple regression models were performed to determine associations between parents’ racial discrimination experiences (lifetime and COVID-19 related) and their concerns regarding their children’s well-being (academic performance, physical health, and socio-emotional learning).
A total of 165 parents responded to the survey. 70% of the respondents had experienced some form of COVID-19 racial discrimination. Moreover, 56.4% of the participants had experienced racial discrimination in their lifetime (“being treated less than other Americans,” and “feeling unaccepted of their culture”) . We found that lifetime racial discrimination predicted greater parental concerns regarding child’s socio-emotional learning (those endorsed one out of two items, β = 0.21, p = 0.03: those endorsed both items, β = 0.41, p = 0.01) and academic performance (those endorsed one out of two items , β = 0.24, p = 0.01: those endorsed both items, β = 0.36, p = 0.02). On the other hand, COVID-19 racial discrimination was associated with greater concerns on child’s socio-emotional learning (β = 0.30, p = 0.002) and physical health (β = 0.22, p = 0.02).
Lifetime and COVID-19 related racial discrimination appear to be a common experience for Asian immigrant parents and both are associated with greater levels of parental concern on child’s well-being. Given the potential effects of discrimination on parenting, our study highlights the needs to address anti-Asian discrimination.