Veränderungen und Einflussfaktoren auf die psychische Gesundheit in der älteren Bevölkerung während der Covid-19-Pandemie | Munich Center for the Economics of Aging - MEA
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01.09.2020 - 31.12.2022 / SHARE - Research

Veränderungen und Einflussfaktoren auf die psychische Gesundheit in der älteren Bevölkerung während der Covid-19-Pandemie

As a reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, most countries implemented epidemic control measures in order to reduce the number of new infections and to (re-)gain control over the occurrence of infection. The ‘Coronavirus Government Response Tracker’ shows that apart from economic and health system policies, containment and closure policies were a central part of governments’ reaction (University of Oxford 2020). Those policies aim at ‘social distancing’. They should reduce the number of social contacts between persons who are not living in the same household. However, social distancing and loneliness impose an increasing risk for morbidity and mortality in the long term (Holt-Lunstad & Smith 2015). Especially older people who are considered as the ones most in need for protection against the Covid-19 pandemic and therefore belong to the central target groups of epidemic control measures, might be especially affected by social distancing policies because social interactions decline with advancing age anyhow (Zhaoyang et al. 2018). This might compromise the ability of older adults to fight an infection with COVID-19 on the other hand (Mattos dos Santos, 2020). While from an epidemiological point of view, more and more is known about the success and the consequences of epidemic control measures, only little is known about the non-medical consequences. In this study we focus the change in and the predictors for mental health in the population aged 50 and above in 26 European countriesduring the Covid-19 pandemic. The central research questions are (i) whether social distancing leads to an increase in the prevalence of depressive symptoms and loneliness among older persons and (ii) which factors help reducing the possibly negative consequences of social distancing.

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Dr. Dipl.-Soz. Josefine Atzendorf, B.Sc. Psych.