Emotional Resilience of Older Adults during COVID-19: A Systematic Review of Studies of Stress and Well-Being

Evelina Sterina, Adriana P. Hermida, Danielle J. Gerberi, Maria I. Lapid

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objectives: To examine post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and well-being in older adults under quarantine. Methods: A systematic review of CINAHL, Ovid EBM Reviews, Ovid Embase, Ovid Medline, Ovid PsycINFO, Scopus, and Web of Science from 2000 to 2020 was conducted. Keywords included coronavirus, epidemic, quarantine, stress, mental health, and similar terms. Included studies enrolled participants under quarantine, quantitatively measured mental health or well-being, and characterized outcomes by age. Results: Of 894 initial results, 20 studies met the criteria and were included. Studies comprise 106,553 participants from eight countries, ages 6–100, two epidemics (COVID-19, SARS), and 27 assessment tools. One study found greater distress in older adults relative to younger adults, one found no significant differences, and 18 found lower negative outcomes in older participants in at least one metric. Conclusions: Older adults in this review generally have lower stress and less negative emotions under quarantine than younger adults. It is unknown how this compares to pre-pandemic measures. More representative and longitudinal studies are needed to measure the impact of quarantine on the mental health of older adults. Clinical implications: As existing scales may not capture the full extent of pandemic psychological effects on older adults, clinicians must vigilantly monitor older adults’ mental health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-19
Number of pages16
JournalClinical Gerontologist
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • Anxiety
  • COVID-19
  • distress
  • post-traumatic
  • well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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