Do reductions of daily activities mediate the relationship between COVID-19 restrictions and mental ill-health among older persons in Europe?

Fors Connolly F, Olofsson J, Josefsson M

Aging Ment Health - (-) 1-8 [2024-02-14; online 2024-02-14]

Previous research has shown that daily activities are crucial for mental health among older people, and that such activities declined during the COVID-19 pandemic. While previous studies have confirmed a link between stringent restrictions and an increase in mental ill-health, the role of daily activities as a mediator in this relationship remains underexplored. We analyzed whether reductions in daily activities mediated the impact of these COVID-19 restrictions on mental ill-health during the pandemic's initial phase. We used data from Wave 8 SHARE Corona Survey covering 41,409 respondents from 25 European countries and Israel as well as data on COVID-19 restrictions from the Oxford Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT). Multilevel regression and multilevel-mediation analysis were used to examine the relationships between restrictions, daily activities and mental ill-health. Reductions in walking and shopping showed a notably stronger association with increases in mental ill-health compared to social activities. Furthermore, declines in walking could account for about a quarter of the relationship between restrictions and increased mental ill-health, but the mediating effects of the other activates were negligible. The study highlights the essential role of maintaining daily activities, particularly walking, to mitigate the negative psychological effects of pandemic-related restrictions among older populations in Europe.

Category: Social Science & Humanities

Funder: H2020

Type: Journal article

PubMed 38353508

DOI 10.1080/13607863.2024.2313726

Crossref 10.1080/13607863.2024.2313726

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