Psychological health among older adult women in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic

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This study examined differences in mental health in older adult women before versus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants who were community dwelling (N = 227) included n = 67 women aged 60–94 in the pre-pandemic group and n = 160 women aged 60–85 in the peri-pandemic group who completed self-report measures assessing mental health and quality of life (QOL). We compared mental health and QOL indices across the pre- and peri-pandemic groups. Results indicated that the peri-pandemic group reported higher anxiety (F = 4.94, p =.027) than the pre-pandemic group. No other significant differences emerged. Given the differential effects in this pandemic across SES, we conducted exploratory analyses investigating differences by income group. Controlling for education and race, within the pre-pandemic group, women with lower income reported worse physical function compared to the mid- and high-income groups. Within the peri-pandemic group, women with lower income reported worse anxiety, poorer sleep, and poorer QOL (physical function, role limitations due to physical problems, vitality, and pain) than high-income individuals. Overall, women who reported lower income reported worse mental health and QOL than those with high-income, especially during the pandemic. This indicates that income might act as a buffer for older women against negative psychological outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic.




Marshall, V. B., Hooper, S. C., Becker, C. B., Keel, P. K., & Kilpela, L. S. (2023). Psychological health among older adult women in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Women and Aging, 35(6), 505–512.

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