Perceived COVID-19 Health Threat Increases Psychological Distress Among Black Americans


The present study used data from the American Trends Panel to examine the interplay between the perceived COVID-19 health threat, discriminatory beliefs in medical settings, and psychological distress among Black Americans. We measured psychological distress as an average of five items modified from two established scales and used self-reports of perceived COVID-19 health threat and beliefs about discrimination in medical settings as focal predictors. Ordinary least squares regression was used to examine these relationships. Holding all else constant, we found that perceived COVID-19 health threat and the belief that Black Americans face racial discrimination in medical settings were both positively and significantly associated with higher levels of psychological distress. We also found a significant perceived COVID-19 health threat by belief about discrimination in medical settings interaction in the full model. Future studies should assess how these relationships vary across age groups and over time.

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