COVID-19 and older workers’ mental health: data from 27 countries
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Opole University
Submission date: 2023-03-08
Final revision date: 2023-08-08
Acceptance date: 2023-09-12
Publication date: 2024-04-02
Corresponding author
Katarzyna Skałacka   

Opole University
Arch Psych Psych 2024;26(1):77-88
Aim of the study:
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought radical changes to the vocational landscape, especially in its first wave. Many workers successfully established a new workspace in their home, but this transition to remote work has reduced opportunities for informal social interactions while requiring the learning of new skills and creating new work–home interference. The aim of this study was to identify how changes in working conditions caused by the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic are related to the mental health of older workers from 27 countries.

Subject or material and methods:
Our study was based on Wave 8 of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, targeted to the COVID-19 living situation of people aged 50 years and older.

Our findings suggest that older people forced by the pandemic into at-home and “hybrid” working evaluated their mental health as poorer than those who continued to work at their usual workplace did. Respondents whose working hours changed, whether they increased or decreased, also reported poorer mental health than those with no changes did. However, these results were gender dependent.

Both modes of remote working were more of a burden for women than for men, and current physical health status was more important in predicting women’s mental health than men’s.

Transition to remote working and dealing with work–home interference is highly relevant to understanding changes in older workers’ mental health.

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