COVID-19 worry, mental health indicators, and preparedness for future care needs across the adult lifespan

Molly Maxfield, Keenan A. Pituch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: The COVID-19 pandemic has been a source of worry for many, but older adults have been identified as more vulnerable to serious cases and may therefore feel more concerned about the virus. We assessed whether COVID-19 worry was related to indicators of mental health and preparedness for future care, in an adult lifespan sample. Method: An online study (n = 485; age 18–82, M = 49.31, SD = 15.39) included measures of COVID-19 worry, depression, general anxiety, health anxiety, hostile and benevolent ageism, preparedness for future care, and demographic information. Results: Age and living alone were positively associated with greater COVID-19 worry, as were health anxiety, general anxiety, benevolent ageism, and preparedness for future care needs via gathering information. A significant interaction indicated that among individuals reporting lower health anxiety, greater preference for gathering information was positively associated with greater COVID-19 worry; however, for individuals having high health anxiety, gathering information about future care was not related to COVID-19 worry, as their COVID-19 worry levels were moderately high. Conclusion: Older age was associated with greater COVID-19 worry, perhaps in response to the much publicized greater risk for negative outcomes in this population. In spite of this specific concern, indicators of older adults’ continued mental health emerged. Preparedness for future care is also highlighted, as well as clinical implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAging and Mental Health
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Aging
  • benevolent ageism
  • COVID-19 worry
  • health-related anxiety
  • preparation for future care needs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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