Inequities Laid Bare: The Mental Health of Young Adults in Rhode Island During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This article was originally published here

R I Med J (2013). 2021 Dec 1;104(10):36-41.


This study documents disparities in the mental health burden of young adults in Rhode Island during the COVID-19 pandemic as it pertains to essential worker status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and childhood trauma. A cross-sectional web-based survey of young adults aged 18 to 25 years conducted between May and October of 2020 assessed anxiety symptoms, depressive symptoms, and thoughts of suicide. In fully adjusted regression models, (n =528 young adults) being an essential worker, a sexual minority, having lower relative SES, and having more adverse childhood experiences were significantly associated with negative mental health outcomes. In models adjusted for individual ACEs, exposure to mental illness in the household, physical violence between adults in the household, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse were independently associated with all three outcomes. Young adults most vulnerable and stigmatized in the community are also those who are most severely affected in terms of mental health.