The Impact of COVID-19 Experiences on Adolescent Internalizing Problems and Substance Use Among a Predominantly Latinx Sample

Trucco EM, Fallah-Sohy N, Hartmann SA, Cristello JV, Comer JS, Sutherland MT, J Youth Adolesc (2022).


Given the salience of socialization factors on adolescence and their role in vulnerability to disasters and trauma, this study examined whether COVID-19-associated fears and impacted quality of life mediated associations between pandemic-focused family conversations and media exposure and subsequent youth mental health. A primarily Latinx sample of adolescents (N = 167; Mage = 16.2 years, 44.9% female) participated in a longitudinal (summer 2020-winter 2020) COVID-19 study. COVID-19 media exposure predicted engagement in relevant safety behaviors, which negatively impacted quality of life, which in turn predicted increased internalizing problems. COVID-19 family conversations predicted social distancing fears, which negatively impacted quality of life, which then in turn also predicted increased internalizing problems. Targeting key socialization factors may minimize negative consequences following major community trauma among adolescents.