A National Study of Racial–Ethnic Differences in COVID-19 Concerns Among Older Americans: Evidence From the Health and Retirement Study

Date
2021-09-21
Authors
Lin, Zhiyong
Liu, Hui
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Abstract

Objectives: Concerns about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are an important emotional reaction to the pandemic and represent a key pandemic-related mental health outcome. We provide the first population-based evidence of racial–ethnic differences in COVID-19 concerns among older Americans during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Methods: We analyzed data from the 2020 Health and Retirement Study COVID-19 project. The sample included 2,879 respondents (aged 50 and older) who were interviewed from June to September 2020 and had completed measures on COVID-19 concerns and other key covariates. Ordinary least squares regression models were estimated to assess racial–ethnic differences in COVID-19 concerns. Formal mediation analysis was conducted to test potential mediating roles of exposures to COVID-19 risks, preexisting health status, and socioeconomic resources in accounting for racial–ethnic differences in COVID-19 concerns.

Results: Non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic Americans showed significantly greater concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic than non-Hispanic White Americans. Racial–ethnic minority older adults also had higher proportions of knowing someone who had contracted or died from COVID-19 than White older adults. Unequal exposures to COVID-19 risks by race–ethnicity and, to a lesser degree, preexisting health inequalities accounted for only part of the racial–ethnic differences in COVID-19 concerns.

Discussion: Our findings call for more research and policy interventions to lessen the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 experienced by older adults of racial–ethnic minority groups.

Description
Keywords
COVID-19, health disparities, minority aging, race, ethnicity
Citation
Zhiyong Lin, PhD, Hui Liu, PhD, A National Study of Racial–Ethnic Differences in COVID-19 Concerns Among Older Americans: Evidence From the Health and Retirement Study, The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Volume 77, Issue 7, July 2022, Pages e134–e141, https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbab171
Department
Sociology