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    Racial Differences in the Psychosocial Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Veterans With Psychosis or Recent Homelessness

    American Journal of Orthopsychiatry

    Year: 2022

    The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disproportionately impact people of color and individuals experiencing psychosis and homelessness. However, it is unclear whether there are differences by race in psychosocial responses to the pandemic in vulnerable populations. The double jeopardy hypothesis posits that multiply marginalized individuals would experience worse psychosocial outcomes. The present study investigated the clinical and functional initial responses to the pandemic in both Black (n = 103) and White veterans (n = 98) with psychosis (PSY), recent homelessness (RHV), and in a control group (CTL) enrolled in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare services. Clinical interviews were administered via phone at two time points: baseline (mid-May through mid-August 2020) and follow-up (mid-August through September 2020). The baseline interview also included retrospective measures of pre-COVID status from January 2020. There were no significant differences between Black and White veterans in depression, anxiety, or loneliness. However, Black veterans did endorse more fears of contamination, F(1, 196.29) = 9.48, p = .002. Across all groups, Black veterans had better family integration compared to White veterans, F(1, 199.98) = 7.62, p = .006. There were no significant differences by race in social integration, work/role productivity, or independent living. In sum, there were few significant differences between Black and White veterans in initial psychosocial response to the pandemic. The lack of racial disparities might reflect the presence of VAs wrap-around services. The findings also highlight the robust nature of social support in Black veterans, even in the context of a global pandemic.

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