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The impact of sheltering-in-place during the COVID-19 pandemic on older adults' social and mental well-being.


ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES:We examined whether social isolation due to the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders was associated with greater loneliness and depression for older adults, and, if so, whether declines in social engagement or relationship strength moderated that relationship. METHOD:Between April 21-May 21, 2020, 93 older adults in the United States who had completed measures characterizing their personal social networks, subjective loneliness, and depression six to nine months prior to the pandemic completed the same measures via phone interview, as well as questions about the impact of the pandemic on their social relationships. RESULTS:Older adults reported higher depression and greater loneliness following the onset of the pandemic. Loneliness positively predicted depression. Perceived relationship strength, but not social engagement, moderated this relationship such that loneliness only predicted depression for individuals who became closer to their networks during the pandemic. For those who felt less close, depression was higher irrespective of loneliness. DISCUSSION:The COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted older adults' mental health and social well-being in the short-term. Potential long-term impacts are considered.

SUBMITTER: Krendl AC 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7454869 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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