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

Derek M. Novacek, Jonathan K. Wynn, Amanda McCleery, Eric A. Reavis, Damla Senturk, Catherine A. Sugar, Jack Tsai, Michael F. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


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 andWhite 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 toWhite 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 VA’s wrap-around services. The findings also highlight the robust nature of social support in Black veterans, even in the context of a global pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)590-598
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice


  • Covid-19
  • Homelessness
  • Pandemic
  • Psychosis
  • Veterans


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