Background: Little is known about effects of COVID-19 lockdown on psychosocial factors, health and lifestyle in older adults, particularly those aged over 80 years, despite the risks posed by COVID-19 to this age group.
Methods: Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 members, residing mostly in Edinburgh and the surrounding Lothians regions in Scotland, mean age 84 years (SD=0.3), responded to an online questionnaire in May 2020 (n=190). We examined responses (experience and knowledge of COVID-19; adherence to guidance; impact on day-to-day living; social contact; self-reported physical and mental health; loneliness; and lifestyle) and relationships between previously-measured characteristics and questionnaire outcomes.
Results: Four respondents experienced COVID-19; most had good COVID-19 knowledge (94.7%) and found guidance easy to understand (86.3%). There were modest declines in self-reported physical and mental health, and 48.2% did less physical activity. In multivariable regression models, adherence to guidance by leaving the house less often associated with less professional occupational class (OR=0.71, 95%CI 0.51– 0.98) and poorer self-rated general health (OR=0.62, 95%CI 0.42–0.92). Increased internet use associated with female sex (OR=2.32, 95%CI 1.12–4.86) and higher general cognitive ability (OR=1.53, 95%CI 1.03–2.33). Loneliness associated with living alone (OR=0.15, 95%CI 0.07–0.31) and greater anxiety symptoms (OR=1.76, 95%CI 0.45–1.24). COVID-19 related stress associated with lower emotional stability scores (OR=0.40, 95%CI 0.24–0.62). Decreased physical activity associated with less professional occupational class (OR=1.43, 95%CI 1.04–1.96), and lower general cognitive ability (OR=0.679, 95%CI 0.491–0.931).
Conclusions: Characteristics including cognitive function, occupational class, self-rated health, anxiety, and emotional stability, may be related to risk of poorer lockdown-related psychosocial and physical outcomes.


© 2021 Taylor et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Taylor, A., Page, D., Okely, J., Corley, J., Welstead, M., Skarabela, B., Redmond, P., Russ, T. & Cox, S. 2021, 'Impact of COVID-19 lockdown on psychosocial factors, health, and lifestyle in Scottish octogenarians: The Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 Study', PLoS One, 16(6), article no: e0253153. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0253153

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Last updated: 14 October 2022
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