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Objectives: Infectious diseases are the most common cause of disease stigmatisation, which can lead to a denial of healthcare, education, housing, and employment, as well as physical violence. Stigmatisation is common during pandemics. This study set out to examine the social stigmatisation of COVID-19 among resident of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted in Riyadh in May 2020. Non-probability convenient sampling was used to recruit the 847 participants through social media and WhatsApp. Descriptive statistics, the Pearson correlation coefﬁcient, and a chi-square test were used, as well as a multiple linear regression model. Results: The study revealed a high level of stigma among 21% of participants and an intermediate level in almost 49% of participants. Low stigma was indicated among 30% of the study sample. A highly significant association existed between stigma and older age groups, married individuals, and participants with lower levels of education. Conclusions: Future programmes should educate patients and their families about stigma, as well as the consequences of stigmatising COVID-19. Stigma eradication policies and interventions should be implemented to avoid potential consequences for public health.
Keywords: social stigma, COVID-19, Saudi Arabia, pandemic.
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