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Did you know that older people are psychologically resilient to the lockdown effects?

November 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected peoples’ lives all across the globe. The dangerous and very contagious virus prompted governments in many countries to adopt unprecedented confinement measures to prevent the overload of public healthcare systems. Such disruptions might be a source of great stress leading to lowered mental health. A study by ISS researchers Gordey Yastrebov and Dina Maskileyson focuses on the impact of confinement and economic support measures on the mental health of the older population (aged 50 and above) across twenty-five European countries and Israel. While studies evaluating the effect of confinement measures on mental health exist, they largely ignore the potentially offsetting effects of economic support measures. Moreover, previous findings on the effect of confinement measures are inconsistent, and many studies are based solely on cross-sectional designs. Using data from the Corona Survey wave (2020) of the Survey on Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), the authors leverage the date of interview information to vary individual exposure to different policy contexts within countries. Overall, they do not find support for the negative effect of confinement measures on older adults’ mental health. If anything, both confinement and support measures worked in tandem to soothe mental distress, resulting from the pandemic. The confinement effects, however, are contingent on age, potentially indicating that younger people are more likely to be negatively affected by lockdowns.