Abstract: Psychological Distress and Sleep Outcomes during the COVID-19 Pandemic Among Filipinx Americans (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

Psychological Distress and Sleep Outcomes during the COVID-19 Pandemic Among Filipinx Americans

Friday, January 14, 2022
Mint, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
* noted as presenting author
Dale Dagar Maglalang, PhD, MA, MSW, Postdoctoral Researcher, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Victoria-Jo Gapuz, Undergraduate Student, Macalester College, St. Paul, MN
Leanna Fong, Undergraduate Student, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA
Erin Nuestro, Undergraduate Student, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA
Kyle Navarro, MS, RN, PHN, Public Health Nurse, San Francisco Unified School District, San Francisco, CA
Brandy Truong, BS, Medical Student, Ross University School of Medicine, Barbados
Carina Katigbak, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, FAHA, Assistant Professor, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA
Background and Purpose: The COVID-19 pandemic increased anxiety and depressive symptoms in the general U.S. population with higher rates among vulnerable populations such as womxn, people of color, and non-U.S. born (Fitzpatrick, 2020). Existing literature showed that there’s a relationship between poor mental health and poor sleep (Murphy & Peterson, 2015). Currently, there is little data on the mental health and sleep behaviors of Filipinx Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this paper is to examine the associations of poor mental health and sleep outcomes among Filipinx Americans.

Methods: Participants were recruited online through email listservs and social media. Inclusion criteria for the study included 1) identifies as Filipinx American, 2) 18 years old and older, and 3) resides in Massachusetts. Participants who met the inclusion criteria took the survey online through Qualtrics. To measure sleep outcomes, we derived items from the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (Buysse, et al., 1989), specifically short sleep (six or less hours of sleep), sleep insufficiency (not feeling rested upon waking up), and insomnia (frequency of waking up in the middle of the night or early). We used the Kessler Psychological Distress (K10) scale to measure psychological distress within the last 30 days (Kessler et al., 2002). We used logistic regression analysis, adjusting for age, gender, sexual orientation, relationship status, financial distress, and immigrant status. We checked for multicollinearity and all models had variance inflation factors (VIF) below 2.0.

Results: In a sample of N=132 participants, 55% reported short sleep, 77% were sleep insufficient, and 27% experienced insomnia. The mean for psychological distress is 22.58 (SD=8.68) with higher scores indicating increased psychological distress. Our sample was predominantly 18-29 years old (54%), womxn (70%), straight (77%), single & married (36%, respectively), had enough money by the end of the month (56%), and born in the U.S. (55%). Findings showed that psychological distress is positively associated with short sleep (OR=1.07; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.13; p<0.008) and insomnia (OR=1.05; 95% CI: 1.00, 1.10; p<.05) while it’s negatively associated with sleep insufficiency (OR=.91; 95% CI: .86, .96; p<.001). Compared to younger participants, those who are 30-71 years old were more likely to report short sleep (OR=2.71; 95% CI: 1.07, 6.86, p<.036).

Conclusions and Implications: Consistent with existing literature, findings from this study showed that experiences of psychological distress during the pandemic has negative effects on the sleep outcomes of Filipinx Americans. Compared to the younger age group, older participants were more likely to report short sleep. Older participants may be experiencing added stressors of financial burden and familial responsibilities. The negative relationship of psychological distress and sleep insufficiency perhaps can be explained that those who are already experiencing poor mental health are already not feeling well rested given that 77% of our sample were already sleep insufficient. Social work researchers and practitioners need to implement culturally responsive interventions in the Filipinx American community that will address poor mental health which can potentially improve sleep outcomes. Prolonged poor sleep can increase risk for cardiovascular disease and other illnesses.