Mental health and social connectedness across the adult lifespan in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

Date

2021

Authors

Gregory, Madeline A.
Legg, Nicole K.
Senay, Zachary
Barden, Jamie-Lee
Phiri, Peter
Rathod, Shanaya
Turner, Brianna J.
Paterson, Theone S. E.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Canadian Journal on Aging / La Revue canadienne du vieillissement

Abstract

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has had profound consequences on collective mental health and well-being, and yet, older adults appear better off than younger adults. The current study examined mental health impacts of the pandemic across adult age groups in a large sample (n = 5,320) of Canadians using multiple hierarchical regression analyses. Results suggest older adults are experiencing better mental health and more social connectedness relative to younger adults. Loneliness predicted negative mental health outcomes across all age groups, while the negative association between social support and mental health was only significant at average and high levels of loneliness in the 65–69 age group. Results point towards differential mental health impacts of the pandemic across adult age groups and indicate that loneliness and social support may be key intervention targets during the COVID-19 pandemic. Future research should further examine mechanisms of resiliency among older Canadian adults during the pandemic.

Description

The authors would like to thank the rest of our research team for their assistance, including Reina Stewart, Brooke Lagore, and Jennifer Reeves. The authors would also like to thank Julie Prud’homme for her help with French language translations.

Keywords

COVID-19, pandemic, mental health, lifespan, loneliness, social support, aging

Citation

Gregory, M. A., Legg, N. K., Senay, Z., Barden, J.-L., Phiri, P., Rathod, S., Turner, B. J., & Paterson, T. S. E. (2021). “Mental health and social connectedness across the adult lifespan in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Canadian Journal on Aging / La Revue canadienne du vieillissement, 40(4), 554-569. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0714980821000477