The differential impact of COVID-19 across health service psychology students of color: An embedded mixed-methods study

Erica Szkody*, Pankhuri Aggarwal, Katharine E. Daniel, Jennifer K. Boland, Catherine Sumida, Jason J. Washburn, Edward A. Selby, Amy Peterman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: Communities of color in the United States systematically experience inequities in physical and mental health care compared to individuals who identify as non-Hispanic White. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic exacerbated these structural drivers of inequity to disproportionate and devastating effects for persons of color. In addition to managing the direct effects of COVID-19 risk, persons of color were also navigating increased racial prejudice and discrimination. For mental health professionals and trainees of color, the effects of COVID-19 racial health disparities and the increase in acts of racism may have been compounded by their work responsibilities. The current study used an embedded mixed-methods approach to examine the differential impact of COVID-19 on health service psychology (HSP) students of color as compared to their non-Hispanic White peers. Method: Using quantitative and qualitative data from the Epidemic-Pandemic Impacts Inventory, measures of perceived support and of discrimination, and open-ended questions about students' experiences with racism and microaggressions, we examined the extent to which different racial/ethnic HSP student groups experienced COVID-19-related discrimination, the impacts of COVID-19 felt by students of color, and how these experiences differed from those of their non-Hispanic White peers. Results: HSP students of color endorsed greater impacts of the pandemic on both self and others in the home, perceived themselves as less supported by others, and reported more experiences of racial discrimination than non-Hispanic White HSP students. Conclusion: Throughout the graduate experience, HSP students of color and their experiences of discrimination need to be addressed. We provided recommendations to HSP training program directors and students both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2101-2123
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • coronavirus
  • discrimination
  • graduate students
  • health service psychology
  • microaggression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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