The Effects of Coronavirus Victimization Distress and Coronavirus Racial Bias on Mental Health Among Black, Indigenous and Latinx Young Adults in the United States
Background. People of color in the U.S. have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic in terms of rates of infection and morbidity. Explanations for these disparities include over-representation as essential workers and long-standing inequities in access to health services. Prior to the pandemic, racial discrimination has been associated with depression and general anxiety. However, the effect of discrimination and racial bias specific to the Coronavirus on mental health has
... been examined. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of Coronavirus victimization distress and Coronavirus racial bias beliefs on the mental health of young adult people of color. Method. An online survey administered to a national sample of 350 Black, Indigenous and Latinx adults (18 to 25 years) included Coronavirus health risks, prescription and financial security, measure of depression and anxiety and 2 new psychometrically validated measures for Coronavirus related victimization distress and racial bias. Results. Employment, number of Coronavirus health risks, Coronavirus victimization distress and Coronavirus racial bias were positively correlated with each other and with depression and anxiety. By contrast, household income and perceived financial and prescription security were negatively correlated with Coronavirus victimization, Coronavirus racial bias and with the mental health indices. Structural equation modeling controlling for demographic variables indicated perceived Coronavirus racial bias mediated the effect of Coronavirus victimization distress on both mental health measures across all groups. Conclusions. Results suggest the COVID-19 pandemic has created new pathways to mental health disparities among young adults of color by reversing formerly protective factors such as employment, and by exacerbating structural and societal inequities linked to race. Findings highlight the necessity of creating mental health services tailored to the specific needs of racial/ethnic minorities during the current and future health crises.