Asian American Parents’ Experiences of Stress, Discrimination, and Mental Health During COVID-19

Cindy Y. Huang, William Tsai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: COVID-19 has placed Asian Americans (AA) at higher risk for discrimination within the U.S. This exacerbates the mental health distress of AA parents, who are also experiencing COVID-19-related stress (e.g., health, financial, work, childcare). The risk factors associated with mental health outcomes for AA parents are not well understood. This brief report examined the relationships among COVID-19 stress, discrimination, and psychological distress of AA parents during the initial months of the pandemic. Method: Baseline data of an ongoing longitudinal examination into the COVID-19 experiences of AA parents and their families were utilized. Participants were 166 AA parents of children ages 2–19 years. They completed an online survey about their experiences of COVID-19-related stress (i.e., childcare, school, work), discrimination, and psychological distress. Results: The majority of AA parents were highly stressed due to school closures and childcare changes; school-age parents reported significantly more stress resulting from school closures than parents of young children or adolescents. Over 21% of AA parents experienced some discrimination resulting from COVID-19; the majority reported discrimination fears for themselves and their family/friends. Experiencing discrimination was positively associated with psychological distress, as was COVID-19 stress related to work performance and relationship quality. Conversely, the majority of parents reported increased quality time with their family (i.e., children, partners). Discussion: AA parents are experiencing high levels of COVID-19-related stress, and have the added psychological burden of experiencing and fearing racial/ ethnic discrimination. However, the pandemic has led to families spending more quality time together. Implications for future studies are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-77
Number of pages10
JournalFamilies, Systems and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 19 2022


  • Asian American racism
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 and mental health
  • discrimination
  • parenting stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Applied Psychology


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