Daily activities, mental well-being and restrictions among older people during the Covid-19 pandemic across European countries – a multilevel analysis.

Jenny Olofsson , Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR), Umeå University
Filip Fors Connolly, Umeå University
Maria Josefsson, Umeå University
Gunnar Malmberg, Umeå University
Mikael Stattin, Umeå University

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries across Europe have induced different strategies to curb the spread of the virus and to hamper the negative health consequences. While some countries have applied a strict lockdown, others have relied more on recommendations and voluntary adjustments. Previous studies has shown that daily life of older people - the group most affects by the pandemic - was substantially restrained due to restrictions and recommendations. A key question is to what extent restrictions has influenced the mental well-being of older people and to what extent this has been mediated by a reduction in daily activities. The aim of this paper is to examine if changes in mental well-being of older people (50 years and older) in Europe was influenced by policy-induced restrictions and voluntary reduction in different daily activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. We utilise data from the Survey of Health Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) wave 6 and 7 and from the SHARE Corona Survey collected in 2021. By use of multilevel regression analysis, we explore the associations between changes in mental well-being, on one hand, and daily activities and stringency on the other hand. We consider the daily activities as a mediator, influencing the relationship between mental well-being and restriction stringency. Thus, we expect that our paper will shed light on why and for whom daily activitiy reduction may be harmful for older people’s mental well-being.

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 Presented in Session 53. Consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health