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Publication Detail
Health Behaviors and Mental Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Di Gessa G, Zaninotto P
  • Publisher:
    SAGE Publications
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    Journal of Applied Gerontology
  • Medium:
  • Status:
  • Country:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    ELSA, depression, eating, life satisfaction, older people, physical activity, quality of life, sleeping
  • Notes:
    © The Author(s) 2023. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Stay-at-home and lockdown measures during the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on health-related behaviors which in turn posed a risk to mental health, particularly among older people. In this study, we investigated how changes to health behaviors (physical activity, sleeping, eating, and drinking) impacted mental health (depression, quality of life, and life satisfaction) during and beyond the initial phase of the COVID-19 lockdown. Using data from Wave 9 (2018/19) and two COVID-19 sub-studies (June/July 2020; November/December 2020) of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (N = 4989), we found that health behaviors changes during lockdown were associated with poorer mental health in June/July 2020. However, in November/December 2020, higher depression, lower quality of life, and lower life satisfaction were more likely only among respondents who reported less physical activity, eating more, changes in sleep patterns, and drinking more alcohol. Public health programs should support healthy behaviors as we emerge from the pandemic.
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