Social Support and Technology Use and Their Association With Mental and Physical Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic Among Asian Americans: The COMPASS Cross-sectional Study
JMIR Public Health Surveill
BACKGROUND: The global COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affected Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) and revealed significant health disparities with reports of increased discrimination and xenophobia. Among AAPIs, the pandemic exacerbated their social, linguistic, and geographic isolation. Social support may be especially important for AAPIs given the salience of collectivism as a cultural value. Another mechanism for support among AAPIs was technology use, as it is generally widespread among this population. However, older adults may not perceive the same benefits. OBJECTIVE: We examined social support and technology use and their relationships with mental and physical health outcomes through the COVID-19 pandemic among AAPIs. METHODS: Data were drawn from the COVID-19 Effects on the Mental and Physical Health of AAPI Survey Study (COMPASS) for the time period of October 2020 to February 2021. COMPASS was a cross-sectional, multilingual, national survey conducted online, by phone, and in person with AAPI adults who were ≥18 years of age, in collaboration with academic and community partners in the United States. Data were analyzed using multivariable linear regression using the outcome variables of mental and physical health with various predictors such as social support and technology use. We tested for interactions specific to age and ethnicity. RESULTS: Among 4631 AAPIs (mean age 45.9, SD 16.3 years; 2992/4631, 63.1% female), we found that (1) increased social support was associated with better physical health, (2) total social support was positively associated with better mental health, (3) higher technology use was associated with poorer mental health and inversely associated with poorer physical health, (4) the association of technology use with mental health was weaker among those with low social support (vs those with high social support), (5) adults younger than 60 years old (vs ≥60 years old) were more negatively affected with social support and mental health, and (6) Korean Americans appeared to be a high-risk group for poor physical health with increased technology use. CONCLUSIONS: Our paper identified mental and physical health needs along with supportive therapies observed among AAPIs during the pandemic. Future research on how social support can be leveraged, especially among AAPIs younger than 60 years old, and how various types of technology are being utilized are important to guide the recovery efforts to address both mental and physical disparities across communities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
AAPI, anxiety, COVID-19, depression, discrimination, disparity, health disparities, mental health, outcome, pandemic, physical health, population, race, social support technology, support, survey, technology
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Public Health and Recreation
Linda G. Park, Oanh L. Meyer, Marcelle M. Dougan, Bethany Golden, Kevin Ta, Bora Nam, Janice Y. Tsoh, Marian Tzuang, and Van M.Ta Park. "Social Support and Technology Use and Their Association With Mental and Physical Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic Among Asian Americans: The COMPASS Cross-sectional Study" JMIR Public Health Surveill (2023). https://doi.org/10.2196/35748
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