Skip to main content

Coping Behaviors in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic Among Essential Workers of Color: Latent Classes and Covariates


This study explores the coping patterns of essential workers of color during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using a cross-sectional design, participants (N = 319) completed an electronic survey and answered questions about 21 coping behaviors between December 2020 and March 2021. Latent class analysis was used to cluster coping behaviors and examine the relationship between class membership and correlates. Five latent classes were identified: (a) business-as-usual; (b) social support, self-care, and distractions; (c) smoking, drinking, and media use; (d) moderately multifaceted; and (e) highly multifaceted. Most participants (43%) clustered within the business-as-usual latent class and had a very low probability of engaging in any of the listed behaviors. Participants (28%) in the social support, self-care, and distractions pattern had moderate-to-high probabilities of reaching out to trusted friends or family and pursuing distractions (e.g., media breaks, media engagement, meditation), along with a moderate probability of efforts to take care of their physical health (e.g., deep breathing, eating well). Participants (13.2%) clustered into the smoking, drinking, and media use pattern had very high probabilities of cigarette and alcohol use, along with a moderate probability of media consumption (e.g., watching television, social media). Next, these classes were examined for relationship with other correlates, such as workplace conditions. Findings support the importance of structural issues, such as workplace requirements for safety and support, that contribute to coping during the COVID-19 crisis. Now is the time to prepare for what comes next and demonstrate a commitment to the human rights of those deemed essential.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

Data Availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon request.


Download references


This work was supported by the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory. We thank the participants who gave their time and perspectives in support of this study.


North Carolina Policy Collaboratory, 

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



Mimi Chapman (conceptualization, writing — original draft, writing — review and editing). Todd Jensen (conceptualization, data curation, formal analysis, writing — original draft, writing — review and editing) Sarah M. Godoy (conceptualization, writing — original draft, writing — review and editing) Steven Day (conceptualization, writing — review and editing). Rachel W. Goode (conceptualization, writing — original draft, writing — review and editing).

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mimi V. Chapman.

Ethics declarations

Competing Interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Springer Nature or its licensor (e.g. a society or other partner) holds exclusive rights to this article under a publishing agreement with the author(s) or other rightsholder(s); author self-archiving of the accepted manuscript version of this article is solely governed by the terms of such publishing agreement and applicable law.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Chapman, M.V., Jensen, T.M., Godoy, S.M. et al. Coping Behaviors in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic Among Essential Workers of Color: Latent Classes and Covariates. J. Hum. Rights Soc. Work 8, 316–326 (2023).

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: