Innov Aging 6 (5) igac041 [2022-06-09; online 2022-06-09]
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, as well as the measures intended to limit its spread, have likely affected older adults' depressive burden. Good physical functioning and a rich social network may benefit older adults' mental health. We examined whether pre-pandemic physical functioning and social network were associated with depressive burden during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Stockholm, Sweden. A telephone assessment of depressive burden using the symptoms of sadness, anxiety, worrying, reduced sleep, and reduced appetite was conducted in May-September 2020 in 930 older adults from the Swedish National Study on Aging and Care in Kungsholmen (SNAC-K), an ongoing population-based study. Objective measures of gait speed, muscle strength, and balance; and self-reports of social connections and support were collected in 2016-2019. Logistic models were adjusted for sociodemographic, clinical, lifestyle, and pandemic-related factors (loneliness, change in physical and social engagement, and experience of death due to COVID-19). Only good muscle strength (odds ratio [OR]: 0.53; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.32-0.85; ref: poor strength, ≥17 s) and rich social support (OR: 0.67; 95% CI: 0.45-0.99; ref: poor support) exhibited an independent association with depressive burden, even after accounting for pandemic-related factors. A combination of good muscle strength and rich social support were associated with the greatest reduction in depressive burden (OR: 0.35; 95% CI: 0.18-0.66; ref: poor social support and poor muscle strength). Prepandemic social support and muscle strength could supply older adults with resilience against the depressive burden associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.