Black–white racial disparities in COVID-19: Awareness and framing of decision-making rationales.

Vanessa V. Volpe, Lori S. Hoggard, Nikolette P. Lipsey, Nicole U. Kozak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Black–White racial disparities in COVID-19 have received much media attention. Yet the degree to which laypeople are aware of these disparities and support equitable ventilator allocation remains unclear. This mixed methods study investigated laypeople’s awareness and the rationales they provided for ventilator allocation. Adults from the United States (N = 249) participated in the study in April 2020. They selected between photos of two people in four comparisons, indicating who they believed was more likely to be affected by COVID-19, to whom they would allocate a ventilator, and their rationale for allocation. Black individuals were more frequently rated as affected by COVID-19 and selected to receive a ventilator. Participants who selected the Black individual to receive a ventilator cited COVID-19 statistics and structural-level need, while participants who selected the White individual cited physical appearance (weight and age) as their rationale. Public support for equitable COVID-19 health policies (e.g., finances for production of ventilators, lock-down and mask-wearing policies) can potentially be harnessed by underscoring differential rates of infection, hospitalization, death, and highlighting structural need.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-271
Number of pages9
JournalStigma and Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 20 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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