Prevalence and correlates of COVID-19-related traumatic stress symptoms among older adults: A national survey

Christopher J. Armitage, Piers Dawes, Kevin J. Munro

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Coronavirus pandemics increase the incidence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which requires intensive treatment and is related to several long-term psychiatric disorders. Older adults are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and hence trauma symptoms. It is not known what is the prevalence of trauma symptoms relating to COVID-19 specifically among older adults nor what may be the markers for the emergence of trauma symptoms. The aim of the present research was to estimate the prevalence, and identify correlates of, traumatic stress symptoms attributable to COVID-19 among older adults in the UK. A cross-sectional survey that assessed COVID-19-related trauma symptoms and demographics was conducted with a sample of 3012 adults aged 60 years and older who were representative of the UK population. Data were analysed descriptively and using multiple/logistic regression. 36.5% of the sample (n = 1100) reported experiencing clinically meaningful traumatic stress symptoms that could lead to as many as 27.4% of the sample going on to develop PTSD. Women and younger older adults were particularly likely to experience clinically meaningful symptoms of traumatic stress. Work is urgently required to prepare services to address what may be substantial numbers of older people presenting with PTSD in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-193
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Early online date27 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022


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