COVID-19 study finds older adults tend to fare better with the pandemic’s effects

As part of a new study of COVID-19, researchers at the University of British Columbia uncovered that adults over the age of 60 tend to have greater emotional well-being, during the pandemic, compared to younger adults. The study appeared in the Journal of Gerontology.

The study involved persistent data gathered between March and April of 2020. In the data, 776 American and Canadian-based participants ranging from early to late adulthood were given surveys to complete regarding their emotional well-being. The assessment occurred during the first weeks of the coronavirus outbreak.

The time span of which the participants self-reported their experiences coincided with the implementation of stay-at-home orders by local, provincial, and state governments among both countries.

“In March and April 2020, 776 adults from Canada and the U.S. ages 18-91 (mean age 45) reported COVID-19 threats at baseline, then completed nightly surveys for one week about their daily stressors, positive events, and affect,” according to the study’s co-authors.

Based on the results, younger adults experienced more concerns regarding the severity of the pandemic across multiple domains.

“Younger and middle-aged adults are faced with family- and work-related challenges, such as working from home, homeschooling children and unemployment,” the study’s lead author stated in a news release. “They are also more likely to experience different types of ongoing non-pandemic stressors than older adults, such as interpersonal conflicts.”

“Our findings provide new evidence that older adults are emotionally resilient despite public discourse often portraying their vulnerability. We also found that younger adults are at greater risk for loneliness and psychological distress during the pandemic.”

The results demonstrate that older adults are more likely to demonstrate emotional well-being and less reactivity to stressors.

“In the early weeks of the pandemic, older adults showed better emotional well-being and less reactivity to stressors but did not differ from younger adults in their exposure to COVID-19 stressors,” the study concluded.

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