Researchers show how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the mental health of people in all age groups

A new report released by Penn State Harrisburg’s Institute of State and Regional Affairs shows how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the lives of Pennsylvanians economically and psychologically.

According to their findings, the drastic effects of the pandemic vary by age. Based on their report, the younger age groups, between ages 18 to 34, felt the highest rates of employment loss. The younger age groups were also more likely to perceive the pandemic as a direct concern to their personal finances.

On the topic of physical and mental health, however, the older age groups, between ages 35 to 64, were more likely to perceive the pandemic as a threat to personal health.

“The statewide poll also asked about concern for physical and mental health. Belief that COVID-19 represented a major threat to personal health was highest in older age groups,” the report states.

“Over half of respondents 45 and older considered COVID-19 a major threat to physical health, while only a quarter of people 18-24 said the same.”

A sample of Pennsylvania residents was asked about the negative impacts the pandemic is having on mental well-being, including prolonged stress and anxiety. Around 69 percent of the younger age group said they experienced negative impacts on their mental health as a result.

“Among the many age-related trends, findings reveal generational differences in how mental health is perceived and/or experienced during the pandemic. Across all age groups, individuals who lost work were 64.7% more likely to worry about their mental health, a statistically significant increase,” the report concluded.

All-in-all, the report shows the extent to which younger age groups are affected economically and psychologically by the pandemic. The findings may provide a glimpse into the state of well-being among other statewide populations in America.

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