Identifying groups with an increasing risk for depression and loneliness during the pandemic | Max-Planck-Institut für Sozialrecht und Sozialpolitik - MPISOC
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10.05.2021 / Sozialpolitik (MEA) EN

Identifying groups with an increasing risk for depression and loneliness during the pandemic

A new study based on data from the SHARE Corona Survey examines the medium-term consequences of COVID-19 on mental well-being by shedding light on feelings of sadness, depression and loneliness after the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Does the COVID-19 pandemic lead to an increase in depression or loneliness for people aged 60 plus?

The study by Atzendorf and Gruber from the Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) is answering this question by investigating depression and loneliness of retired individuals aged 60 plus. Within their study, they identify groups with an increasing risk for depression and loneliness during the pandemic and discover large country variations in reported feelings of sadness/depression and loneliness.

The researchers find:

  • In countries that were hit very hard by the first wave of the pandemic in terms of mortality, the oldest old (80+) have the highest likelihood for feeling more depressed.
  • For more than every second person 60+ who already suffered from sadness or depression, the pandemic worsened the situation after the first COVID-19 wave.
  • Especially people living alone felt lonelier after the first COVID-19 wave (looking at people 60+ in Europe).

>> Read more in our summary on the SHARE website.

>> Read the study: Atzendorf, Josefine; Gruber, Stefan: "The Mental Well-being of Older Adults after the First Wave of COVID-19". MEA Discussion Paper 04-2021.