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Title: COVID-19 lockdown has altered the dynamics between affective symptoms and social isolation among older adults: results from a longitudinal network analysis
Authors: Yu, Junhong 
Mahendran, Rathi 
Issue Date: 19-Jul-2021
Publisher: Nature Research
Citation: Yu, Junhong, Mahendran, Rathi (2021-07-19). COVID-19 lockdown has altered the dynamics between affective symptoms and social isolation among older adults: results from a longitudinal network analysis. Scientific Reports 11 (1) : 14739. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Rights: Attribution 4.0 International
Abstract: The COVID-19 lockdown has drastically limited social interactions and brought about a climate of fear and uncertainty. These circumstances not only increased affective symptoms and social isolation among community dwelling older adults but also alter the dynamics between them. Using network analyses, we study the changes in these dynamics before and during the lockdown. Community-dwelling older adults (N = 419) completed questionnaires assessing depression, anxiety, and social isolation, before the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of a cohort study, and during the lockdown period. The total scores of these questionnaires were compared across time. For the network analyses, partial correlation networks were constructed using items in the questionnaires as nodes, separately at both timepoints. Changes in edges, as well as nodal and bridge centrality were examined across time. Depression and anxiety symptoms, and social isolation had significantly increased during the lockdown. Significant changes were observed across time on several edges. Greater connectivity between the affective and social isolation nodes at lockdown was observed. Depression symptoms have become more tightly coupled across individuals, and so were the anxiety symptoms. Depression symptoms have also become slightly decoupled from those of anxiety. These changing network dynamics reflect the greater influence of social isolation on affective symptoms across individuals and an increased vulnerability to affective disorders. These findings provide novel perspectives and translational implications on the changing mental health context amidst a COVID-19 pandemic situation. © 2021, The Author(s).
Source Title: Scientific Reports
ISSN: 2045-2322
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-94301-6
Rights: Attribution 4.0 International
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