The digital divide impacts on mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

Ali Cheshmehzangi, Tong Zou, Zhaohui Su

Research output: Journal PublicationEditorial

30 Citations (Scopus)


One of the most daunting unintended consequences of the digital revolution is the digital divide (DD), a pervasive social and information inequality. It negatively affects all sectors of society, and exerts compounding influences on other social inequities. To further complicate the situation, the COVID-19 pandemic has been intensifying the scale of DD and deepening the scope of DD barriers with the increasing but imbalanced applications of digital technologies. For instance, while digital technologies can provide support to fulfill people's mental health needs, recurring evidence shows that DD-prone people are more likely to be excluded from critical services, activities, and resources to support their health concerns and challenges. So far, studies about the mental health consequences of DD amid COVID-19 are limited. Available evidence suggests that the general mental health impacts of COVID-19 include anxiety, depression, and suicidal behaviors, while the mental health consequences of DD due to COVID-19 are mainly stress, distress, and anxiety. To shed light on the research gap, based on the social inequality roots of DD and the nexus between DD barriers and factors of social inequalities, this study highlights the alarming overlap between DD-prone communities and vulnerable populations. Furthermore, we underscore the future research directions that could help society better serve both underserved communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-213
Number of pages3
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Digital divide
  • Mental health
  • Public health
  • Social inequality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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