The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential impact of U.S. government official’s comments regarding the source of COVID-19 on individuals’ perceptions and tendencies to blame Asian victims of hate crimes in the U.S. Moreover, we examined how political conservatism and beliefs about the origin and spreading of COVID-19 impact participants’ victim blaming toward Asian victims of hate crimes. Participants (N = 100; 46 women, 54 men) were recruited via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk). Participants were randomly assigned to read one of the two scenarios that either discussed COVID-19 with no direct inferences of blame toward the origin of COVID-19 or with directly placed blame on the origin of COVID-19. There were no significant main effects of the scenario or participants’ gender on blaming the victim. However, we found that men who were presented COVID-19 origin information were more likely to blame Asian victims compared to men who were not given origin information. Moreover, political conservatism was a significant predictor of blaming Asian victims of hate crimes. Possible explanations for the results and future research directions were discussed.


  • The results revealed that political conservatism and one’s beliefs about that the COVID-19 was spread by Chinese individuals in the U.S were both significant (β = 0.28, p = 0.002 and β = 0.48, p < 0.001, respectively)

  • We presented two conditions in which some participants received non-origin information about COVID-19 and other participants received origin information about COVID-19

  • Participants received individual situations of violence that were depicted toward Asian victims of hate crimes, and we investigated how participants blamed these Asian victims

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Further investigation exposed the viral nature of the infection and ruled out the fish market as a sole source (Guo et al, 2020; Shereen et al, 2020). This virus was named the coronavirus by Chinese researchers and later labeled as COVID-19 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (Shereen et al, 2020). In an effort to slow down the spread of COVID-19 and encourage countries to proceed with containment procedures, WHO officially classified the outbreak of COVID-19 as a pandemic in March of 2020 (WHO, 2020c)


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