Health Behavior and Attitudes During the COVID-19 Pandemic Among Vulnerable and Underserved Latinx in the Southwest USA

Hyunsung Oh, Flavio F. Marsiglia, Susan Pepin, Stephanie Ayers, Shiyou Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted deep-rooted health disparities, particularly among Latinx immigrants living on the Mexico–US border. This article investigates differences between populations and adherence to COVID-19 preventive measures. This study investigated whether there are differences between Latinx recent immigrants, non-Latinx Whites, and English-speaking Latinx in their attitudes and adherence to COVID-19 preventive measures. Data came from 302 participants who received a free COVID-19 test at one of the project sites between March and July 2021. Participants lived in communities with poorer access to COVID-19 testing. Choosing to complete the baseline survey in Spanish was a proxy for being a recent immigrant. Survey measures included the PhenX Toolkit, COVID-19 mitigating behaviors, attitudes toward COVID-19 risk behaviors and mask wearing, and economic challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. With multiple imputation, ordinary least squares (OLS) regression was used to analyze between-group differences in mitigating attitudes and behaviors toward COVID-19 risk. Adjusted OLS regression analyses showed that Latinx surveyed in Spanish perceived COVID-19 risk behaviors as more unsafe (b = 0.38, p =.001) and had stronger positive attitudes toward mask wearing (b = 0.58, p =.016), as compared to non-Latinx Whites. No significant differences emerged between Latinx surveyed in English and non-Latinx Whites (p >.05). Despite facing major structural, economic, and systemic disadvantages, recent Latinx immigrants showed more positive attitudes toward public health COVID-19 mitigating measures than other groups. The findings have implications for future prevention research about community resilience, practice, and policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPrevention Science
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Access
  • COVID-19 testing
  • Racial/ethnic disparities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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