Mental health of older adults significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

Mental health of older adults significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionated impact on older adults, with groups of people who were already marginalized feeling a far greater negative impact.” Parminder Raina, lead principal investigator of the CLSA

The research was led by Parminder Raina, a professor in the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact and scientific director of the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging. The study was published in the journal Nature Aging today.

Loneliness was the most significant predictor of worsening depressive symptoms, with other pandemic-related stressors, such as family conflict, also increasing the odds.

They used telephone and web survey data to examine how health-related factors and social determinants such as income and social participation, impacted the prevalence of depressive symptoms during the initial lockdown starting March 2020 and after re-opening following the first wave of COVID-19 in Canada. Caregiving responsibilities, separation from family, family conflict, and loneliness were associated with a greater likelihood of moderate or high levels of depressive symptoms that got worse over time. The research team included CLSA principal investigators Christina Wolfson of McGill University, Susan Kirkland of Dalhousie University, Lauren Griffith of McMaster, along with a national team of investigators.

“Those who were socially isolated, experiencing poorer health and of lower socioeconomic status were more likely to have worsening depression as compared to their pre-pandemic depression status collected as part of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging since 2011.”

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