Social distancing measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 may cause changes in psychosocial factors. This study aimed to clarify changes in psychosocial factors among older adults before and after Japan’s declaration of a state of emergency over coronavirus disease 2019.
This was a longitudinal cohort questionnaire study. A baseline survey was conducted in March 2020, and a follow-up survey was conducted in August 2020. The subjects were 1103 community-dwelling older adults not certified as having long-term care needs who responded to both the baseline and follow-up surveys. Changes in psychosocial factors before and after the state of emergency declaration were analysed by gender using the McNemar–Bowker test.
Data for 397 men (mean age ± standard deviation: 80.6 ± 4.7 years) and 486 women (80.3 ± 4.3 years) were analysed in this study. The frequency of meeting friends increased over the study period for men (P = 0.04). An increasing number of women lived alone (P = 0.01). However, many people’s financial status improved (P < 0.01), and the number of friends met in the previous month increased (P < 0.01).
None of the examined psychosocial factors worsened, except for the increase in the number of women living alone. However, many of the study subjects refrained from engaging in certain activities. If the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic persists, changes in psychosocial factors may occur. Therefore, a long-term investigation of the secondary psychosocial effects of coronavirus disease 2019 is necessary.