Job transitions and mental health outcomes among US adults aged 55 and older during the Covid-19 outbreak
Leah Abrams1, Jessica Finlay2, Lindsay Kobayashi2
1Center for Population and Development Studies, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 2University of Michigan
In addition to heightened health risks from COVID-19 and related social isolation, Americans nearing and beyond retirement age are especially vulnerable to the effects of the recent economic downturn. This study uses data from the COVID-19 Coping Study (N=6,292) to examine rates of job loss, furloughs, hour/income reductions, and work-from-home transitions among Americans aged 55+ in April and May 2020, and tests differences in job transitions by sociodemographic group and occupational industry. We describe sources of worry by job transition and test the adjusted associations between these transitions and mental health outcomes: life satisfaction, loneliness, depressive symptoms, and anxiety. Results demonstrate associations between job loss, furloughs, and hour/income reductions with life satisfaction, loneliness, and depressive symptoms, as well as increased anxiety among those losing work and working-from-home. These results enhance our understanding of the secondary health effects of social, behavioral, and economic aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic among aging Americans.