Faculty Sponsor

Melissa Cannon


The COVID-19 pandemic had dramatic impacts on the physical, social, and emotional health of individuals. Older adults, in particular, have experienced the highest mortality rates and the greatest concerns ranging from physical safety to economic stress to social isolation. This paper presents findings drawn from the COVID-19 Coping Study, a national longitudinal study of the social, behavioral, health, and economic pandemic impacts on older adults (aged 55+) in the U.S. The authors qualitatively analyzed attitudes, behaviors, fears, and frustrations expressed by the study participants in an open-ended survey question during the monthly follow-up survey in Fall 2020. The results revealed four major ways that the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected older adults with regard to their sources of community: missing interactions with people; concern for safety from the virus; collective frustrations with the pandemic; and frustrations creating divisions within communities. This study sheds light on the struggles of older adults during a pandemic and may help inform future research on coping strategies and ways to better prepare for potential pandemics in the future.



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