COVID-19 Conversations: A Deeper Dive into the Impact of COVID-19 on Minority Youth

University of Houston Professor of Psychology Carla Sharp is reporting it is crucial to identify risk and protective factors to inform prevention and intervention efforts that mitigate detrimental impacts among at-risk children and adolescents in the United States.

Hispanic/Latinx youth have had their say: Staying at home during the pandemic has had a tremendous impact on their mental health and well-being, and has revealed hardships for young people. The new study, published in Child and Youth Care Forum, is the first to directly examine the experiences and perspectives of children and young adolescents from racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S., despite being exposed to more adversity, which may affect coping with the many challenges posed by the pandemic. 

“It really seems like family time is the key,” said University of Houston Professor of Psychology Carla Sharp, principal investigator on the project and director of the  Developmental Psychopathology Lab at UH. “Our findings suggest that cultural factors (e.g., collectivism and familism) in Hispanic communities may offer important buffering during COVID-19.” 

Seven themes were identified concerning the impact of COVID-19, centering around the impact of racism, loss of income, the role of community and family in coping with stress, information overload, home-schooling, loneliness and boredom, and lack of structured routines. 

The new study, including qualitative interviews, is a follow-up to a previous quantitative paper issued in April which concluded that for youths with elevated levels of mental health problems before the pandemic, symptoms were significantly reduced across domains during the pandemic due to the increased time spent with families. 

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