Young Asian American Health Survey: A national survey of the mental health and well-being of Asian American adolescents and young people amid the rise of anti-Asian racism

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The COVID-19 pandemic and consequent social and economic impacts have instilled a sense of fear and anxiety around the globe, potentially leading to short- and long-term psychosocial and mental health implications for the broader population. Although the threat of the virus and pandemic effects are real for all Americans, Asian Americans bear the additional burden of elevated anti-Asian sentiments and attacks. Such experiences of racial discrimination may act as a chronic social stressor that exacerbates adverse mental health among Asian Americans. Asian American adolescents and youth may be especially vulnerable to mental health consequences due to their exposure to multiple stressors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, such as increased social isolation, family financial strain, and increased social media use, as well as fear for their own safety as they become direct targets of anti-Asian hate crimes. Out of the 2,499 self-reported hate incidents to Stop AAPI Hate in the first 18 weeks of the pandemic, 16% of cases involved youth. Within these reports, 81% of youth described experiencing some kind of bullying or verbal harassment from their peers, 24% experienced social rejection, and 8% were physically assaulted. While studies have shown that sharing experiences of discrimination with others and receiving emotional support from peers can be effective coping strategies, Asian Americans adolescents and youth may currently lack opportunities to seek and benefit from social support due to the isolating nature of the pandemic and enduring mental health stigma within the Asian American community. This study is designed to: 1. Understand the mental well-being of Asian American adolescents and youth (aged 15–24 years) given the increase in anti-Asian racism and violence in the United States. 2. Determine the relationship between the state of Asian American adolescents and youth mental health and exposures to anti-Asian violent incident(s) (e.g., vandalism, physical and verbal attacks) or online content and reports of anti-Asian violence (e.g., news, videos, etc.). 3. Understand the present coping mechanisms utilized by Asian American adolescents and youth under the current climate.We hypothesize that Asian American adolescents and youth are experiencing increased levels of mental illness symptoms correlated with the surge in anti-Asian hate crimes and violence over the past year. The overall goal is to illuminate how the swelling of anti-Asian violence is affecting the next generation of Asian Americans. We believe our results could be useful to arm policymakers, health professionals, and the Asian American community with the right data and evidence so that they can design culturally and age-appropriate policies and interventions to support adolescents and youth during this crisis.


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