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Effects of Early Wave of The Covid-19 Pandemic On Older As Compared To Younger Adults In Slovenia
It has been a year since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased fears and worries and created uncertainty worldwide. These abrupt changes had negative effects on mental health, especially in the most vulnerable populations. In an online survey conducted in April 2020, we collected various data on Slovenian adults aged 18 and over: data on generalized anxiety, emotions, perceived stress, purpose in life, changes in fatigue and sleep quality during the epidemic, selected relatively stable personal characteristics and the impact of various difficulties encountered during the epidemic. We will present the results from a sample of 168 older adults (age > 65 years) (68% women) and compare these results with those obtained from younger adults (age < 65 years) sample (n = 733). We found that older as compared to younger adults experienced less home- and work-related issues (with regard to family relationships, intimate partner relationship, and reduced privacy, stressful relations with children, work-related problems, academic problems, economic problems), but more health issues (physical pain, fatigue/sleepiness, worsening illness). In the older age group, higher self-reported generalized anxiety during the first wave of COVID-19 was significantly higher for females than males (p = .001). Generalized anxiety was associated (R2 = .75) with older adults’ more intense emotional response, their higher vulnerability to COVID-19 pandemic, higher evaluations to the COVID-19 restrictions (health- and home-related issues) and their personality characteristics (lower emotional stability, higher extraversion).