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A cross-sectional online survey of depression symptoms among New Zealand’s Asian community in the first 10 months of the COVID-19 pandemic

Siegert, Richard J.; Zhu, Andrew; Jia, Xiaoyun; Ran, Guanyu Jason; French, Nigel; Johnston, David; Lu, Jun; Liu, Liangni Sally


Richard J. Siegert

Andrew Zhu

Xiaoyun Jia

Nigel French

David Johnston

Jun Lu

Liangni Sally Liu


The COVID-19 pandemic has elevated levels of distress and resulted in anti-Asian discrimination in many countries. We aimed to determine the 10-month prevalence of depression symptoms in Asian adults in New Zealand during the pandemic and to see if this was related to experience of racism. An online survey was conducted and a stratified sample of 402 respondents completed the brief Centre for Epidemiological Studies-Depression (CES-D) scale. Analyses included: descriptive statistics, depression scores by age/gender, factor analysis of the 10 item CES-D and partial correlation network analysis of CES-D items together with questions about experience of racism. Results show that half of the sample reported clinically significant symptoms of depression. Depression was higher among younger participants but there was no gender difference. Internal consistency was high (α = 0.85) for the CES-D which revealed a clear two-factor structure. Network analysis suggested that sleeping problems might be the bridge between experiences of racism and depression. The prevalence of low mood was high with clinically significant levels of depressive symptoms. Depression was higher in younger people and had a modest positive correlation with personal experience of racism.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 15, 2023
Online Publication Date Sep 3, 2023
Deposit Date Dec 8, 2023
Publicly Available Date Dec 11, 2023
Journal Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand
Print ISSN 0303-6758
Electronic ISSN 1175-8899
Publisher Royal Society of New Zealand
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Depression, Asian, CES-D, racism, COVID-19, factor analysis, network analysis
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