The Impact of Healthcare Worker Stigma during the Covid-19 Pandemic

Lauryn Evans Garner, Fordham University


Healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic were often viewed by the public as contaminated due to their proximity to individuals with illnesses. This public concern led to feelings of isolation for some healthcare workers as well as a range of mental health symptoms in this population. The current study investigated the impact of stigmatization on COVID-19 related stress among healthcare workers. Additionally, it explored whether or not related beliefs (i.e., overestimation of threat and inflated sense of responsibility) impacted the relationship between stigma and pandemic stress. In the current study, regression and moderation analyses were conducted to explore the relationships between these variables. A sample of 372 healthcare workers were recruited to complete a series of online questionnaires. Results revealed that current reported stigma among healthcare workers significantly predicted COVID-19 related stress and more specifically, anxiety around danger and contamination related to the virus, compulsive checking and reassurance seeking regarding COVID-19, and traumatic stress symptoms. Overestimation of threat and inflated sense of responsibility beliefs did not moderate the relationship between current stigma and COVID-19 stress. Reported stigma experiences significantly decreased from the beginning of the pandemic to early in 2022. The current findings provide some preliminary evidence that stigma may contribute to mental health difficulties for healthcare workers during pandemics. However, research should explore these factors and their associations further to better understand their strength and importance.

Subject Area

Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Garner, Lauryn Evans, "The Impact of Healthcare Worker Stigma during the Covid-19 Pandemic" (2023). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI29323704.