Older adults have proven their ability to overcome adversities throughout their life. This study aims to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on older adultsʼ psychological distress (anxiety and depression) over time.
A community-dwelling Spaniard population (N = 192) completed a survey and reported on their sociodemographic characteristics, appraisal and personal resources. Older adults took part in a longitudinal online survey collected in April 2020 (during the lockdown restrictions) and at two subsequent time points 3 and 9 months after baseline (without lockdown restrictions and during the third wave of the pandemic respectively).
Older adults did not evidence higher emotional distress than during the initial lockdown. Furthermore, depression remained stable and anxiety significantly decreased. Results also suggest that some sociodemographic characteristics, appraisals and personal resources are relevant. Older participants showed less anxiety than younger ones. Furthermore, being a male, resilience, and acceptance were related with the decrease of anxiety. Otherwise, fear of the COVID-19 outbreak and depression were related with the increase of anxiety.
Older adults may adapt to the adverse pandemic impact by using more adaptive resources that reduce their distress. Efforts to ameliorate older adults’ anxiety by focusing on older adults’ personal resources should be considered.