Understanding the Intersectionality of COVID-19 Racism, Mental Distress, Alcohol Use, and Firearm Purchase Behavior Among Asian Americans

Wu, T. Y., Hsieh, H. F., Resnicow, K., Carter, P. M., Chow, C. M., & Zimmerman, M.


Firearm-related injuries are a major public health concern in the USA. Given the increased racism endured by Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, the current study aims to investigate the direct and indirect effects of racism, mental distress, and substance use on firearm purchase among Asian Americans. To fulfill this purpose, we collected data from a national sample of 916 Asian Americans in 2021. The study results showed that Asian Americans’ racism experience is directly related to increased mental distress, substance abuse, and firearm purchase. Both mental distress and alcohol use were also linked to firearm purchase. It was found that racism links to more mental distress and increased alcohol use, which in turn link to increased firearm purchases. The findings add new information on how racism can have compounded effects on mental distress and alcohol use in addition to firearm-related risk behavior among Asian Americans and posing serious public health concerns.

Keywords: Asian Americans; Coronavirus; Firearm violence; Firearm-related behavior; Mental distress.