The COVID-19 pandemic has led to over 900,000 deaths in the United States (US) (Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 2022). Latinos are the largest non-White population in the US and Latinos in the US have been particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (CDC, 2021; U.S. Census Bureau, 2021). To date, over 150,000 Latinos in the US have died from COVID-19 (CDC, 2022).
Examining the mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is an important and understudied aspect of COVID-19 research, particularly among Latinos. This study helps to fill the gap in the literature by examining the relationship between the isolation that has occurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress, among self-identified Latinas and Latinos.
Data for this study were drawn from a sample of collected in the fall of 2020 of 1,015 adult Latinos (857 (84.4%) self-identified women, and 158 (15.6%) self-identified men) living in the US during the pandemic. Participants were recruited through social media postings in Latino and immigrant rights organizations, as well as outreach to social service agencies.
Isolation was a 5-item scale (α = .75). Symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress were measured using the DASS-21 (Daza, Novy, Stanley, & Averill, 2002). Depression was a 7-item subscale(α=.91). Anxiety was a 7-item subscale(α=.86). Stress was a 7-item subscale (α=.94.)
Six multivariate OLS linear regression models examined the relationship between isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress among Latinos in the US (controlling for age, SES, level of education, US citizenship status, and years in the US). The data were analyzed separately for self-identified women and men.
The results indicated that Latinas who reported a greater sense of isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic were also significantly more likely to report increased symptoms of 1) Depression (B= .517, CI (95%) .372, .713, p< .001), 2) Anxiety isolation (B= .317, CI (95%) .164, .508, p< .001), and 3) Stress (B= .517, CI (95%) .319, .748, p< .001).
In addition, the results indicated that Latinos who reported a greater sense of isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, were also significantly more likely to report increased symptoms of depression (B= .761, CI (95%) .207, 1.323, p< .01).
Conclusions and Implications:
COVID-19 has exacerbated the existing crisis of inequities and social justice that exist in the US.
The results of this study indicated that Latina women who felt more isolated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, reported greater symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. On the other hand, Latino men who felt more isolated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic only reported greater symptoms of depression. This may indicate that while the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the entire Latino population, there may be differences by gender regarding the relationship between isolation and mental health symptoms. In order to help improve mental health and wellbeing, social workers must continue to examine the impact of COVID-19 on Latinas and Latinos in the US.