Rural/urban differences in mental health and social well-being among older US adults in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic

Carrie Henning-Smith, Gabriella Meltzer, Lindsay C. Kobayashi, Jessica M. Finlay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: This study seeks to identify differences in mental health and social well-being during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic among older adults by rural/urban location. Methods: We use data from the COVID-19 Coping Study, a nation-wide online study of U.S. adults aged 55 and older (n = 6,873) fielded during April-May, 2020. We investigated rural/urban differences in mental health (depressive symptoms and anxiety symptoms) and social well-being (loneliness and social isolation); concern about COVID-19; and types of social participation (e.g. phone/video calls, visits). We also used multivariable logistic regression models to assess the relationship of rurality with mental health, adjusting for socio-demographic correlates, COVID-19 history, and COVID-19 concern. Results: We found similar prevalence of mental health and social well-being outcomes for rural and urban respondents. Rural respondents reported lower concern about COVID-19 and more frequent use of social media than urban respondents. Conclusion: Mental health and social well-being did not differ by rural/urban location in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, rural residents reported less concern about COVID-19 and more use of social media, potentially leading to greater risk of illness from the pandemic in later months.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAging and Mental Health
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • environmental factors/housing/rural-urban factors
  • loneliness
  • Rural
  • social isolation

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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