Social Determinants of Mental Health As Mediators and Moderators of the Mental Health Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Psychiatr Serv. 2021 May 1;72(5):598-601. doi: 10.1176/ Epub 2021 Feb 17.


Contracting COVID-19, being exposed to it, or being affected by societal containment measures can have consequences that are themselves social determinants of health. Preexisting social determinants of health also drive the disproportionately high prevalence of COVID-19 infection and deaths among minority, marginalized, and other vulnerable populations. Thus, the social determinants of mental health act as both mediators and moderators of the pandemic's impacts, and like all social determinants, the effects of the pandemic are underpinned by public policies and social norms. The major economic impacts of containment measures have had cascading effects that will affect mental health for years to come.

Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; Epidemiology; SARS-CoV-2; Social determinants; Social psychiatry.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pandemics*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Social Determinants of Health / statistics & numerical data*