Affection Deprivation and Weathering: An Exploratory Study of Black and African Americans’ Well-Being during COVID-19
This study investigates factors related to the well-being of African Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically, reports of discrimination, perceived stress, and affection deprivation through the lenses of Affection Exchange Theory and the Weathering Framework. Sixty-six individuals participated in a cross-sectional survey study through an online Qualtrics questionnaire. We predicted that Black and African American participants would report experiencing more discrimination during the pandemic than other people of color (POC) due to several overlapping pathways of racism (e.g., stereotype effect, internalized racism, and systemic racism) affecting Black individuals more than others. We also predicted affection deprivation for Black and African American participants would be directly related to their perceived stress. Results from an independent samples t-test indicated no significant difference of discrimination between Black and non-Black participants. However, in post hoc analysis, there was a significant difference of discrimination between Black and White participants, illustrating the greater strain on Black individuals during the pandemic when compared to their White counterparts. Finally, correlational analysis revealed a significant positive association between affection deprivation and perceived stress for Black participants. We believe this relationship reflects an important health problem Black Americans are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic, in which isolation through COVID-19 protective measures (e.g., quarantine) are exacerbating the burden of stress they already bear.
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