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Loneliness During the COVID-19 Pandemic Among Older Adults With Chronic Conditions.

Polenick CA, Perbix EA, Salwi SM, Maust DT, Birditt KS, Brooks JM. Loneliness During the COVID-19 Pandemic Among Older Adults With Chronic Conditions. Journal of applied gerontology : the official journal of the Southern Gerontological Society. 2021 Aug 1; 40(8):804-813.

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The COVID-19 pandemic may intensify loneliness among older adults with chronic conditions who are at high risk of severe illness, but little is known about factors associated with loneliness during the pandemic. We considered factors linked to loneliness among 701 adults aged 50 years and older with chronic conditions from Michigan (82.5%) and 33 other U.S. states. Participants completed an anonymous online survey between May 14 and July 9, 2020. About two thirds (66.4%) reported moderate to severe loneliness. The fully adjusted regression model revealed that being a person of color, having a spouse or cohabiting partner, and more emotional support were associated with lower levels of loneliness. Higher anxiety symptoms, more worry about COVID-19 infection, and more financial strain because of the pandemic were linked to greater loneliness. These findings inform strategies to support a vulnerable subgroup of older adults during this pandemic and in future public health crises.

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