ResearchPublications

Social engagement and mental health symptoms across Asian American ethnic groups during the COVID-19 pandemic
Abstract

BACKGROUND: To examine social engagement and mental health symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic across Asian American (AA) ethnic groups.

METHODS: Data from three waves of the nationally representative COVID-19 Household Impact Survey (4/20/2020-6/8/2020) were used to describe social engagement and mental health symptoms during the pandemic. Associations between mental health and social engagement were assessed via multinomial logistic regression.

RESULTS: In this sample of 312 AAs (36.9% Chinese American, 30.9% South Asian American, 20.1% Filipino/Vietnamese American, and 12.0% Japanese/Korean American), daily communication with neighbors declined for Chinese, South Asian and Filipino/Vietnamese Americans but increased for Japanese/Korean Americans (P=.012) whereas communication with friends/family increased only for Filipino/Vietnamese, Japanese/Korean and South Asian Americans (P<0.001). Differences in self-reported symptoms of anxiety, depression, loneliness, and hopelessness were observed across AA ethnic groups. In adjusted models, lower social engagement was associated with frequent (3-4 days/week) depressive symptoms during the preceding week (cOR:3.26, 95%CI:1.01-10.5). This association was heightened for Asian men (cOR:14.22, 95%CI:3.62-55.8).

CONCLUSIONS: Heterogeneity of social engagement and mental health symptoms across AA ethnicities was observed. Understanding associations between social engagement and mental health within different communities is necessary to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health treatment and care.

Full citation:
Islam JY, Awan I, Kapadia F (2022).
Social engagement and mental health symptoms across Asian American ethnic groups during the COVID-19 pandemic
Ethnicity and Disease, 32 (2), 131-144. doi: 10.18865/ed.32.2.131. PMCID: PMC9037645.