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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
Keywords: Humanities::General
Issue Date: 2021
Source: Yu, J. & Mahendran, R. (2021). 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-.
Journal: Scientific Reports
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.
ISSN: 2045-2322
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-94301-6
Rights: © 2021 The Author(s). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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