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Association between the COVID-19 pandemic and mental health in very old people in Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Nursing. Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Orthopaedics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3754-5026
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9225-1306
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5050-3720
2024 (English)In: PLOS ONE, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 19, no 4, article id e0299098Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sweden implemented social distancing measures to reduce infection rates. However, the recommendation meant to protect individuals particularly at risk may have had negative consequences. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on very old Swedish peoples' mental health and factors associated with a decline in mental health.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study among previous participants of the SilverMONICA (MONItoring of Trends and Determinants of CArdiovascular disease) study. Of 394 eligible participants, 257 (65.2%) agreed to participate. Of these, 250 individuals reported mental health impact from COVID-19. Structured telephone interviews were carried out during the spring of 2021. Data were analysed using the χ2 test, t-test, and binary logistic regression.

Results: Of 250 individuals (mean age: 85.5 ± 3.3 years, 54.0% women), 75 (30.0%) reported a negative impact on mental health, while 175 (70.0%) reported either a positive impact (n = 4) or no impact at all (n = 171). In the binary logistic regression model, factors associated with a decline in mental health included loneliness (odds ratio [95% confidence interval]) (3.87 [1.83-8.17]) and difficulty adhering to social distancing recommendations (5.10 [1.92-13.53]). High morale was associated with positive or no impact on mental health (0.37 [0.17-0.82]).

Conclusions: A high percentage of very old people reported a negative impact on mental health from the COVID-19 pandemic, primarily from loneliness and difficulty adhering to social distancing measures, while high morale seemed to be a protective factor.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2024. Vol. 19, no 4, article id e0299098
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-223268DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0299098PubMedID: 38564616Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85189507899OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-223268DiVA, id: diva2:1852293
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Umeå UniversityAvailable from: 2024-04-17 Created: 2024-04-17 Last updated: 2024-04-17Bibliographically approved

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Olofsson, BirgittaSöderberg, StefanNiklasson, Johan

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