Stress and Mental Health: A Focus on COVID-19 and Racial Trauma Stress

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


In the United States, COVID-19 unfolded alongside profound racial trauma. Drawing on a population-representative sample of twenty- to sixty-year-olds who were married or cohabiting, the National Couples' Health and Time Study (N = 3,642), we examine two sources of stress: COVID-19 and racial trauma. We leverage the fully powered samples of respondents with racial-ethnic and sexual minority identities and find that COVID-19 and racial trauma stress were higher among individuals who were not White or heterosexual most likely due to racism, xenophobia, and cis-heterosexism at the individual and structural levels. Both COVID-19 and racial trauma stress were associated with poorer mental health outcomes even after a rich set of potential mechanistic indicators, including discrimination and social climate, were taken into account. We argue that the inclusion of assessments of stress are critical for understanding health and well-being among individuals affected by systemic and interpersonal discrimination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-134
Number of pages31
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) (1R01HD094081-01A1) and also benefited from support provided by the Minnesota Population Center (P2CHD041023), The Center for Family and Demographic Research (P2CHD050959) at Bowling Green State University, and The Ohio State University Institute for Population Research (P2CHD058484).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Russell Sage Foundation.


  • COVID-19
  • mental health
  • racial trauma
  • stress


Dive into the research topics of 'Stress and Mental Health: A Focus on COVID-19 and Racial Trauma Stress'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this