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Article

Age and Emotional Distress during COVID-19: Findings from Two Waves of the Norwegian Citizen Panel

1
Centre for Elderly and Nursing Home Medicine, Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine, University of Bergen, 5009 Bergen, Norway
2
Olaviken Gerontopsychiatric Hospital, 5306 Erdal, Norway
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Haraldsplass Deaconess Hospital, 5009 Bergen, Norway
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Department of Nursing Home Medicine, Municipality of Bergen, 5020 Bergen, Norway
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Department of Cancer Treatment and Medical Physics, Haukeland University Hospital, 5021 Bergen, Norway
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Division of Health Registry Research and Development, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, 5808 Bergen, Norway
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Division of Geriatric Psychiatry, McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA 02478, USA
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Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Andrea Fiorillo, Maurizio Pompili, Gaia Sampogna and Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(18), 9568; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189568
Received: 11 August 2021 / Revised: 1 September 2021 / Accepted: 3 September 2021 / Published: 10 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health in the Time of COVID-19)
Older adults face the highest risk of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality. We investigated a one-year change in emotions and factors associated with emotional distress immediately after the onset of the pandemic, with emphasis on older age. Methods: The online Norwegian Citizen Panel includes participants drawn randomly from the Norwegian Population Registry. Emotional distress was defined as the sum score of negative (anxious, worried, sad or low, irritated, and lonely) minus positive emotions (engaged, calm and relaxed, happy). Results: Respondents to both surveys (n = 967) reported a one-year increase in emotional distress, mainly driven by elevated anxiety and worrying, but we found no difference in change by age. Multilevel mixed-effects linear regression comparing older age, economy-, and health-related factors showed that persons in their 60s (ß −1.87 (95%CI: −3.71, −0.04)) and 70s/80s (ß: −2.58 (−5.00, −0–17)) had decreased risk of emotional distress relative to persons under 60 years. Female gender (2.81 (1.34, 4.28)), expecting much lower income (5.09 (2.00, 8.17)), uncertainty whether infected with SARS-Cov2 (2.92 (1.21, 4.63)), and high self-rated risk of infection (1.77 (1.01, 2.53)) were associated with high levels of emotional distress. Conclusions: Knowledge of national determinants of distress is crucial to tailor accurate public health interventions in future outbreaks. View Full-Text
Keywords: emotional distress; COVID-19; outbreak; older adults; age; gender; health; income emotional distress; COVID-19; outbreak; older adults; age; gender; health; income
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MDPI and ACS Style

Berge, L.I.; Gedde, M.H.; Husebo, B.S.; Erdal, A.; Kjellstadli, C.; Vahia, I.V. Age and Emotional Distress during COVID-19: Findings from Two Waves of the Norwegian Citizen Panel. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 9568. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189568

AMA Style

Berge LI, Gedde MH, Husebo BS, Erdal A, Kjellstadli C, Vahia IV. Age and Emotional Distress during COVID-19: Findings from Two Waves of the Norwegian Citizen Panel. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(18):9568. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189568

Chicago/Turabian Style

Berge, Line I., Marie H. Gedde, Bettina S. Husebo, Ane Erdal, Camilla Kjellstadli, and Ipsit V. Vahia 2021. "Age and Emotional Distress during COVID-19: Findings from Two Waves of the Norwegian Citizen Panel" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 18: 9568. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189568

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