Home Health Study finds high rate of first-onset depression during the pandemic

Study finds high rate of first-onset depression during the pandemic

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A new large study of more than 20,000 older adults in Canada found that about 1 in 8 older adults developed depression for the first time during the pandemic.

For those who had previously experienced depression, the numbers were even worse. By the fall of 2020, nearly half (45%) of this group reported depression.

Posted in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Healththis study analyzed responses from a Canadian longitudinal study on aging that collected data from participants for an average of 7 years.

The high rate of first-onset depression in 2020 highlights the enormous mental health toll the pandemic has wrought on a previously mentally healthy older group. ”

Andy Macneil, first author, Master of Social Work, recent graduate from Factor Inwentash School of Social Work (FIFSW) and Institute of Life Courses and Aging, University of Toronto

Although it is well known that the prevalence of depression among older adults has surged during the pandemic, previous studies have not shown the proportion of people experiencing depression for the first time or those with a history of the disorder who have experienced relapses. Few specified the percentage of people. .

“The devastation of the pandemic, which has upended so many aspects of daily life, has hit people with a history of depression particularly hard,” says co-author Sapriya Burke. She is a medical student at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. “Medical professionals should be careful when screening patients who had mental health problems early in life.”

Researchers have identified several factors associated with depression in older adults during the pandemic. These include inadequate income and savings, loneliness, chronic pain, problems accessing healthcare, a history of adverse childhood experiences, and family conflicts.

Older adults who perceived their incomes to be inadequate to meet basic needs before the pandemic and those who had less savings were more likely to develop depression during the pandemic. .

“These findings highlight the disproportionate mental health burden borne by individuals of lower socioeconomic status during the pandemic. For us, it may have been exacerbated by the economic instability of the pandemic,” the co-authors said. Margaret DeGraw, Science Manager, Public Health Canada, said:

Individuals who experienced different aspects of loneliness, including feelings of alienation, isolation, and lack of companionship, had approximately four to five times higher risk of both onset and relapse of depression.

“It’s no surprise that lockdowns have been particularly difficult for older adults who have been isolated and lonely during the pandemic. Social connections and social support are essential for well-being and mental health. Better support.” and outreach are needed,” said co-author Ying Jiang, a senior epidemiologist at Public Health Canada.

Older adults with chronic pain and difficulties accessing their usual medical care, medications and treatments were more likely to become depressed in the fall of 2020.

“The findings underscore the importance of streamlining service delivery to reduce disruption to health services during future pandemics,” said co-author, Department of Neuroscience, Carleton University. Professor Paul J. Villeneuve of

People who experienced adversity in childhood were more likely to be depressed in the fall of 2020. Older adults who experienced family conflict during the pandemic had more than three times the risk of depression compared to their peers who did not.

“Family conflict is a major stressor that affects mental health even in the best of times. It was a huge risk for depression,” said senior author Esme Fuller-Thomson, professor at FIFSW at the University of Toronto and director of the Institute for Life Courses and Aging.

This research International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. This study included 22,622 participants from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) and were studied during the baseline wave (2011–2015), follow-up 1 wave (2015–2018), and during the pandemic (2020). provided data from September to December). Because the vulnerable population was underrepresented in CLSA, the impact of the pandemic on depression in older Canadians may be greater than observed.

“Our findings will help health and social work professionals improve targeted screening and outreach to identify and serve older adults at highest risk of depression. I hope that


Journal reference:

Macneil, A. and others. (2022) Incidence and recurrence of depression in adults aged 50 years and older during the COVID-19 pandemic: a longitudinal analysis of a Canadian longitudinal study on aging. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192215032.

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